Another body found in Australia, Punjab family fears may be missing son
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The partially burnt body found last week in Australia's New South Wales province is believed to be of a 25-year-old Indian national in what might be the second fatality in a slew of vicious attacks on Indians.
The body found on a roadside near Griffith on December 29 is, however, yet to be formally identified and Australian officers are in touch with the victim's family in India and the Indian Consulate to help with identification, as per a statement of the New South Wales Police Force.
The incident follows the murder of Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old Indian, in Melbourne on Sunday — the first Indian casualty in a series of attacks on the community in the country that drew a sharp reaction from India.
"We got a call from an Australian detective who said since Ranjot Singh had been missing for the past 10 days, they suspected that the recovered corpse could be his," said Satnam Singh, brother of the missing boy. "A police complaint was filed by our relative in Griffith about Ranjot Singh who went missing on the evening of December 27," claimed the family.
NSW police spokesperson Recobe told The Indian Express that a formal identification of the man's body was yet to be conducted. "We have certain clues that suggest that the corpse is of an Indian man but nothing is clear at the moment."
Another officer said the death was being "treated as a homicide". "This is being treated as a homicide investigation and our primary focus at this time is to identify the victim," said Detective Inspector Paul Smith. "All we know at this stage is that the victim is an adult male with a medium-to-solid build. He was found wearing a white T-shirt with GVI written in large letters on the front."
The cause of the death has not yet been established as a post-mortem was held in Sydney on Tuesday and the report is awaited.
According to family members, Ranjot had gone to Australia almost a year ago with his wife, who went on a student's visa, and they were living in separate towns. "We used to call him everyday in the evening but he suddenly lost touch with us from December 27 onwards. We were told that he went for a late evening party, never to be located again. We tried to call him time and again but his mobile was switched off. His employer told us that Ranjot never reported for work from the very next day," said Ranjot's father Gurmail Singh. His brother Satnam said, "A police team from Australia is expected to arrive here to collect the DNA sample of my parents ."
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner in Canberra Sujatha Singh would be meeting Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials soon, said Deputy High Commissioner V K Sharma.
(with PTI inputs from Melbourne)
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