The Times of Indian, Jan 09 2010
In yet another attack targeting Indians in Australia, a 29-year-old man from the
country was set on fire by a group of four
assailants here, drawing strong
condemnation from a student body which called such assaults unacceptable and
asked authorities not to "dodge" the issue.
Singh was attacked in Essendon area of northwest Melbourne shortly before 2.00
am local time (0730 HRS IST), a week after an Indian student was stabbed to
death amid a slew of assaults on the community in Australia.
Singh, who suffered 20 per
cent burns including on his arms, chest and face, was admitted to 'The Alfred'
Singh and his wife
left a dinner party in Essendon, in the city's northwest, between 1.30 am and 2
am and drove to their nearby home in Grice Crescent. He dropped his wife at home
and had gone to park his car when he was attacked, local media reported.
Police said that as he was
getting out of the car, four men attacked him, pushing him back against the
vehicle and pouring an unknown fluid on him. One of the men then ignited the
fluid with a lighter before all the attackers fled.
The victim, who is now in a
stable condition in the hospital, ran from the car while peeling off his
Denying any racial
angle to the attack, detective acting senior sergeant Neil Smyth said it is not
yet known who the four men could be or their relationship to the victim. He said
investigations indicate the attack was random.
"It's unlikely to be a
racially motivated incident as due to the timing and the nature, it's highly
unlikely anyone could have targeted the victim in the cir*****stances," Smyth
The incident is being
investigated by the arson and explosives squad of police.
Police appealed for public
assistance to locate the victim's clothes, which he shed as he fled the scene.
Singh's friends said he has
been living in the city on a spouse visa.
Meanwhile, Gautam Gupta,
President of Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA), said such
attacks are unacceptable and the federal Government must act against them.
"We are extremely disturbed,
we have contacted the Prime Minister's office and have suggested that they
intervene, it's high time they intervene," he said. "How many times are they
going to just dodge this issue."
Australian Deputy Premier
Julia Gillard condemned the attack on Singh, saying the "matter remains under
investigation by Victorian police and government would not comment further until
police provide more information".
"Government condemns such acts
of violence in the strongest way," she said.
The attack comes a week after
the stabbing death of 21-year-old Indian graduate Nitin Garg in a Yarraville
park while he was on his way to his part-time job in a restaurant.
The body of another Indian
youth, 25-year-old Ranjodh Singh, was found beside Wilga Road in Willbriggie in
the neighbouring state of New South Wales on December 29.