Modi Calls Turnbull Over Death Of Bus Driver In Brisbane
Indian PM expresses ‘concern’ over attack, which has revived memories of 2009 crisis over series of incidents in Australia involving Indian students.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has called Malcolm Turnbull to convey his ‘concern’ over the burning death of Manmeet Alisher in Brisbane. Alisher, from the Indian state of Punjab, died on Friday after an incendiary device was allegedly thrown inside a bus he was driving. A Brisbane man, Anthony Mark Edward O’Donohue, appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder, arson and several counts of attempted murder.
Hundreds attended a vigil for Alisher, 29, on Friday night and more than 1000 people were estimated to have attended a memorial service for the popular member of Brisbane’s Indian community on Saturday. Alisher’s brother Amit was issued an emergency visa and arrived in Australia on Sunday to escort his brother’s body home, but was too upset to speak to the media. But a family friend who accompanied Amit to Australia said Alisher’s elderly parents have not yet been told he was dead. “We haven’t told the parents that he’s no more, we just say it’s an accident, he’s in a coma,” Winnerjit Goldy said.
“It’s a really hard time for us. This is a bad day in the history of Australia. It’s a country of justice and we feel we will get a justice. Modi, who has led India’s government since 2014, called Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday to convey the ‘sense of concern being felt in India’ over Alisher’s death, according to an Indian foreign ministry statement. Attacks on Indians in Australia have been given widespread coverage since a series of high-profile murders and robberies around 2009. Protests were held in New Delhi, Sydney and Melbourne and an extremist Hindu party burnt effigies of the then-prime minister, Kevin Rudd. The number of Indian students seeking to study in Australia plunged by more than 40 per cent and the Indian Government issued a travel advisory after the attacks, which included another 29-year-old being set alight by a gang. The statement from India’s foreign ministry said Turnbull “expressed shock at the killing and conveyed that the matter is being investigated”. The Queensland police have said Alisher’s killing does not appear to have had a racial motivation, but are continuing to investigate O’Donohue will appear in court again next month.
Mourners attend a floral tribute near the bus stop in Morooka, Brisbane, where Manmeet Alisher died after he was set alight.
The late Manmeet Alisher.