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Indian student's car torched in Melbourne

By Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
June 07, 2009 18:43 IST
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In yet another incident targeting Indian students in Australia, a car belonging to a youth from the community has been torched in Melbourne, even as police ruled out any racial motive behind it.

22-year-old Vikrant Rajesh Ratan, who had used all his savings to buy the car, said the vehicle was burnt on Saturday night. He said that two other cars, also belonging to Indians, that were parked next to his vehicle, were also damaged during the incident.

"We were sleeping when it all happened. We heard the fire alarm of the car. When we went out to see what happened we saw the cars on fire," Ratan told PTI. He said that it could have been done by a group of drug addicts who used to sit near the premises. "I believe they (addicts) probably first tried to open the car. Then they may have used a petrol can to set it ablaze." Ratan, originally from Ludhiana who came here a month ago to pursue a certificate course in Automotive Engineering, said that there was no chance of a short circuit that could have burnt the car in this cold weather.

He said he had bought the vehicle a few days ago for $ 2500 and was left with no money. The car was not even insured.

The incident has been reported to the Victorian police, who said they were in the process of getting more information. Ruling out any racial motive behind the incident, a police spokesperson said "there was only one car that was torched while the other two cars had slight damage." "We are investigating who did this. However, it does not look like a racially motivated attack," she said.

This was the latest in the spate of incidents targeting Indians in Australia. Among the victims of racial attacks is 25-year-old Shravan Kumar, a student from Andhra Pradesh, who remained critical after being stabbed with a screwdriver by a group of teenagers who also assaulted his three other Indian friends.

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Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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