Teen arrested over stabbing murder of Indian student

When the thug is white, we are told. See below. But there is never any mention if the thug is black. But that is information in its own way, of course. We don't normally find out that the thug is black until he is sentenced and his name is reported. African names are usually distinctive. In the case of younger offenders, however, even the name is usually suppressed

A HOUSEMATE of an Indian student whose fatal stabbing in January caused a diplomatic row between Australia and India has congratulated police for charging a 15-year-old boy with his friend's murder. Sandeep Sandeep lived with accounting graduate Nitin Garg, who was stabbed on his way to work at the Yarraville Hungry Jack's on a Saturday night, and described him as ''like a younger brother to me''.

Mr Garg was stabbed in Cruickshank Park, then staggered 300 metres to the restaurant. An ambulance was called but he died shortly after arriving at hospital. Mr Sandeep, who had spoken to Mr Garg's family in India, told The Age last night it was helpful someone had been charged.

Mr Sandeep and police said they did not believe the attack - widely described as racist by the Indian media and politicians - was racially motivated.

Mr Sandeep said it was upsetting to hear of the age of the boy accused of the murder. ''He's just a kid …'' The 15-year-old Yarraville boy, whose age prevents his name being released, appeared at a Melbourne Children's Court in a school uniform.

The boy, who is Caucasian, clutched a sheet of paper and looked around the courtroom and at his parents, seated in the front row. He did not attempt to communicate with them and replied ''OK'' when the magistrate explained the schedule of court dates for his case. His mother clutched a tissue, which she held close to her eyes.

Mr Sandeep criticised the immediate reaction of the Indian media and authorities to Mr Garg's death. Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna described it as a ''heinous crime on humanity'' that was an ''uncivilised brutal attack on innocent Indians''.

Premier John Brumby and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith both visited India after Mr Garg's killing, where they attempted to reassure the country that it was a safe place for Indians.

Mr Sandeep said Melbourne was safe for Indian students and it was impossible for politicians to know of their experiences in the city. ''That can happen anywhere in the world. It's not like it was a racial attack. We are safe here in Melbourne.''

Before yesterday's court appearance, Detective Inspector Bernie Edwards said ''at this stage, we don't believe it was racially motivated''. He would not reveal what police believed the motive was. Police are yet to find the weapon used to kill Mr Garg.

''Victoria Police are trying to get knives off the street and this may be one of those occasions where people can learn a lesson why they shouldn't be armed with knives,'' Detective Inspector Edwards said.

The investigation continues, and police are still to speak to other people, but they do not believe it to be gang-related.


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