Languages
Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Australia investigates Indian toddler's death

Undated police handout of Gurshan Singh
Gurshan Singh disappeared from a house in Melbourne

Police in Australia's south-eastern state of Victoria are investigating the possible murder of a three-year old Indian boy.

Gurshan Singh was reported missing by his parents who were holidaying in the Melbourne area.

His body was later found by the side of a road about 30km (19 miles) away from the house he was staying in.

Officials have warned against jumping to conclusions, after several racist attacks on Indians in the past year.

Deputy police commissioner Sir Ken Jones said the cause of death had not been determined, but that police were treating the incident as a homicide.

Sir Ken said he had assured India that police would do everything possible to find out what happened.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said there was "nothing worse, than the brutal murder of a little child".

"The death of any little child causes everyone in this country to stop, pause, think, reflect," he said.

"The authorities are investigating it, we are confident the authorities will get to the bottom of it."

'Personally distressing'

Gurshan Singh, who was visiting from Punjab in northern India, disappeared from a house in the north of Melbourne early on Thursday afternoon.

About six hours after his disappearance, a council worker found a body at the side of a road which police said matched the boy's description.

Indian students rally in Melbourne, Australia, 31 May 2009
Attacks on the Indian community have provoked street protests

Victoria state premier John Brumby said he found the killing "personally distressing" but urged people not to presume any motive.

"What has occurred is an unthinkable tragedy. It's deeply, deeply distressing," he told reporters.

"There are no visible signs of the cause of death at this stage... but I think it's very important that no-one jumps to conclusions," he added.

The boy, whose mother was studying in Australia, had been in the country for about six weeks.

His death comes as Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has been trying to improve relations with India, a major export market, after a series of alleged race attacks.

The latest known attack was in January when Nitin Garg, 21, was stabbed to death as he walked to work at a burger restaurant.

The foreign minister had earlier acknowledged that some of the attacks, which prompted street protests last year, were racially motivated.

Earlier, senior officials and police had denied this.

Last month, thousands of Australians visited Indian restaurants for a Vindaloos Against Violence campaign, aimed at showing solidarity with the 450,000-strong community.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Australian curry campaign hots up
08 Feb 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia assures Indian students
07 Aug 09 |  South Asia
India calls off Australia events
11 Jun 09 |  South Asia
Australia mulls race crime laws
02 Jun 09 |  Asia-Pacific
'Race' attacks spark Indian rally
31 May 09 |  Asia-Pacific
'Australia encouraging racism' says Amnesty
05 Mar 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia rejects UN racism report
25 Mar 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Racism on the rise
01 Feb 06 |  Australia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific