Indian-origin man set on fire in Melbourne

Last Updated 09 January 2010, 12:36 IST

Jaspreet Singh, 29, was attacked in Essendon in Melbourne shortly before 2.00 a.m. He is said to be in a stable condition in Alfred Hospital with burns to 20 percent of his body, ABC News online reported.
Police were told the man had dropped his wife home and gone to park his car after a dinner party when he was attacked in Grice Crescent.
According to the police, as the man was getting out of the car, four men attacked him, pushed him back against the vehicle and poured an unidentified fluid on him. One of the men then ignited the fluid with a lighter and all four fled, The Age newspaper said.

The victim reportedly ran from the car while peeling off his clothes.The man, who suffered 15 per cent burns including on his arms, chest and face, was admitted to 'The Alfred' hospital after he was attacked shortly before 2 am local time (0730 HRS IST) in Melbourne's Essendon area.

The victim, who is now in a stable condition in the hospital, ran from the car while peeling off his clothes, 'The Age' reported.

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. The incident was reported earlier this week.

A police spokeswoman said investigators do not yet know any motive or circumstances surrounding  Saturday's Essendon attack.

The ABC reported that the man is of Indian origin but said police do not know whether he is an Australian citizen.

The incident is being investigated by the arson and explosives squad.
Police appealed for public assistance to locate the victim's clothes, which he shed as he fled the scene. 

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the federal government condemned all violence, regardless of motivation.
"The government condemns all acts of violence in the strongest possible way," Gillard was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.
"This matter remains under investigation by the Victoria police," she said adding that the government would not comment further until the police provided more information.

Neighbours across the street said they heard the car explode into flames but didn't notice any kind of fight or disturbance. The incident is being investigated by the arson and explosives squad.

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. Victoria Minister Peter Batchelor said the incident is concerning.
"Whether it is racially motivated or whether it is for some other reason such as theft or some other crime related factor, it diminishes our community, it diminishes us all and we're totally opposed to it," he said.

Police have appealed for public assistance to find the victim's clothes, which he shed as he ran.

Crime squad investigators say the circumstances leading up to the 29-year-old being set on fire Saturday are "unusual" - but not racially motivated, the Herald Sun reported.
"I believe there's no reason at this stage to consider this in any way racially motivated," said Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Neil Smyth.
After the fatal stabbing of Nitin Garg, India's external affairs ministry had issued an advisory asking Indians studying in Australia and those planning to do so to take extra security precautions while moving around in this country.
Gautam Gupta from the Federation of Indian Students of Australia said the attacks are unacceptable.
"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?"

(Published 09 January 2010, 04:13 IST)

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