21-Year-old Indian student Nitin Garg was stabbed to death in Southern Melbourne while he walked through a park in West Footscray, Melbourne, on his way to work to Hungry Jack’s restaurant on Saturday night.
NITIN GARG staggered into the Hungry Jack’s restaurant, his upper body sliced open by a massive knife wound, knowing he was going to die.
As he pleaded with his co-workers at the restaurant to help him, his lips turned blue. He passed out and died later in hospital.
His housemates, Sandeep Sandeep and Parminder Singh, raced to Royal Melbourne Hospital to be with him, but they were too late.
Mr Sandeep said the eight Indians living together in a house in the suburb of Newport were like family, and Mr Garg was like a brother to him.
He made a heartbreaking call to Mr Garg’s brother in India to tell him of the stabbing. ”He just would not believe me when I told [him] Nitin was no more and asked to speak to the doctor.”
Obviously, the Australian police has down played the whole racial element to the attack.
Victoria Police’s Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said it was “too early to speculate” on whether racism played any role in motivating the knife attack, but he said investigators were keeping an “open mind”.
Deputy Commissioner Walshe denied claims that Melbourne was a hotbed for racist attacks against Indian students.
“I don’t believe that there has been any really detailed racist motives around assaults on Indian people in the past. In some cases there may well be, but in the general sense of it, a lot of (of attacks) has been around opportunistic theft, or opportunistic robbery,” he said.
This might look as an isolated incidence, but look at other attacks on Indian students in 2009 (from wikipedia) –
* “David”, a 21 year old Indian student, was beaten unconscious in the Melbourne suburb of Glenroy on 4 May 2009. Four men had surrounded him, the one from behind smashing a bottle over his head before continuing to punch and kick him.
* An Indian student was assaulted and robbed by a gang on a train while traveling to his home in Werribee in Melbourne’s western suburbs in May 2009. He said his attackers asked “Why the f— did you come here?”
* A 25 year old student was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver in May 2009 while he was partying with three other Indian students.
* An Indian graduate living in the Sydney suburb of Harris Park, had a petrol bomb thrown through his bedroom window on 24 May 2009. He received burns to 30 percent of his body and the blaze was extinguished by his Indian housemates. One housemate said that they had no enemies and he did not know the reason for the attack. The housemate also said that the area was not safe, and that he knew neighbours who had been robbed.
* A 25 year old Indian student was stabbed in the abdomen near Carnegie railway station in Melbourne on 25 May. One of his two attackers laughed during the assault.
* A student was badly beaten by a group of fifteen people on Chapel Street, Prahran, Victoria on 30 May.
* On 2 June, a 21 year old Indian student was slashed across the chest with a box-cutter knife in Frankston. The incident occurred a day after a Sikh temple in Shepparton was vandalised.
* On 8 June, Indians were attacked in Harris Park, allegedly by a group of Lebanese men, which sparked a street protest. The local police superintendent said there was no suggestion that these incidents were racially motivated.
* On 8 June, a 23 year old man was beaten unconscious while walking home from the St Albans train station. In the suburb of Springvale, an Indian student’s car was torched.
* On 11 June, a 22 year old old Indian student was assaulted in Rundle Mall in Adelaide. The fight, which resulted in the student’s nose being broken, began when the attacker struck at his turban.
* On 13 June, a 24 year old man was attacked by three people in Melbourne as he was about to enter his car. He was punched directly in the face by one while another hit him over the head from behind rendering him unconscious. He reported that they stole his mobile phone, wallet and car keys.
* On 15 June, a 20 year old man was attacked by two men as he was entering his car in Boronia. He claims the men slammed the car door on his hand, punched him in the head and stomach, then racially abused him, calling him a “—-ing Indian c—“. He also identified one man as white and one appearing to be of African descent.
* On 29 June, a 22 year old Sikh man was attacked when a group of six teenagers tried to remove his turban and cut off his hair. Two of the attackers were later arrested by Victorian police.
The Reason for the Attacks
Are Indians easy targets for mugging or are being targeted for race driven hatred? The second one sounds more relevant.
Indians studying in Australia have grown from 30,000 to 97,000 with 45,000 of these living in Melbourne, 32,000 in Adelaide and the remainder in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. A lot of these Indians come from rural India to Australia to get permanent residency. Due to higher cost of living, most of the students end up living in cheaper suburbs and work part time cheap jobs in restaurants, etc. This means that the locals have to compete with possibly more competent and cheaper labor for these jobs, making them angry about it?
Why is Australia worried?
International student sector is the 3rd largest export for Australia (after coal and iron ore). The media outcry about violence against Indians in 2009 has already dented the $12 billion-a-year overseas student market. Tourism Australia’s forecasting agency has predicted a 20 per cent drop in the number of Indians studying in Australia this year. Seems like that the hatred crime is killing the goose with the golden egg.
- Australian authorities need to get their act together and arrest and prosecute the people who are responsible for the attack.
- Re-working the hate-crime laws and punishments would also help.
- Further, there is a need for a general awareness in the media that ostracises hate-related crimes.