Facebook posts did him in?

The recent killing of two Punjabi youths in Australia has elicited strong and panic reactions in Punjab. While the Australian authorities are ruling out any racial motives for the attacks, the families and friends of the victims are venting out their ire against diverse targets ranging from education agents to the Australian government.

Twenty-one year old Nitin Garg, who had been studying in Australia for the past one year was stabbed to death in a Melbourne suburb near the restaurant where he worked.  Two days later came the news about the recovery of a half-burnt body of Ranjodh Singh, near Griffith in New South Wales. Ranjodh hailed from Alhora village near Nabha.

Twenty-five year old Ranjodh was into farming after migrating last year, while his wife was on student visa and was studying in a college.

Sitting in a corner in her modest house in Jagraon, Nitin’s distraught mother, Parveen Garg, a widow, only mutters, “he had no enemies. Why was he killed?” The family’s anguish mounted with the delay in sending the body to India as Australian authorities cited several formalities, including a power of attorney from the victim’s close kin.

“We don’t want anything else now. At least give us the body of our son,” screams Parveen Garg in between her bouts of unconsciousness.

Raj Kumar, a paternal uncle of the victim vents his ire at the education agents who, he says, “paint a rosy picture about Australia and deceive youngsters.” He said the Indian External Affairs ministry should crack down on these education agents. “They lure students by promising them a good career after studies in Australia. The picture is apparently just the opposite Down Under,” he says.

Surinder Kumar, another relative of Nitin criticised the Australian authorities for failing to protect Indian students. “If they cannot protect our children, they should not lure them by promising good education,” he said.

Ranjodh’s parents , Gurmail Singh and Paramjit Kaur, are too shell shocked to speak. His young brother, Satnam Singh, when asked if his brother ever complained about racism says, “I do not know what happened to him.”

Nitin’s family members only say that some of his friends out there had told them he used to be a regular on the social networking site, Facebook, and had pasted posts condemning racial attacks in Australia.

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