She was thousands of miles away from home when she became a victim of rape. Indian student Tosha Thakkar was raped and killed, and her body was discarded in a suitcase.
If this story sounds like something that happened in India, read again. This is a crime against an Indian student in Sydney.
Thakkar was followed and observed by her killer. When her housemate was away, she was sexually assaulted and later killed by 19-year old Daniel Stani-Reginald who is a storeman. Stani-Reginald is said to be an Australian of Sri Lankan origin.
Thakkar was studying accounting in Sydney.
Stani-Reginald is arrested and charged with rape and murder of the 24-year old Indian student.
According to Australian media, Thakkar’s body was found on Friday morning by contractors working on routine maintenance of an oil pipeline in a canal running behind Meadowbank Park in north-western Sydney.
It had been stuffed into a large, black, cloth suitcase.
About 20 friends and family of Ms Thakkar, who had been living in Australia to study accounting, turned up to the court in Sydney where the case was being heard.
“We are very upset of course and are just waiting to get justice as soon as possible,” a friend outside court told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“She was very nice, the type that got along with everybody and she didn’t deserve this, such a painful death.
Detective Chief Inspector Pamela Young said Thakkar was a “respectful young woman”.
“She did not deserve this at all,” she said. “She did nothing whatsoever to contribute to what happened to her.”
Detective Chief Inspector Young told the news agencies that Thakkar’s parents had not yet made plans to come to Australia and police hoped to return her body to India for a proper Hindu funeral service.
“I understand her father is very ill,” she said.
In the meantime, the news of the brutal killing following rape of the Indian student hit headlines in media in India, Thakkar’s home country. Describing the crime against the Indian student in Australia as “unfortunate”, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the government was closely monitoring the investigations in the case.
Krishna told Indian media outside Parliament that the Indian government has sought a report about the case from Indian embassy in Australia.
“I have asked… we are getting a report from our ambassador. We are closely following it up… monitoring it… and we will see that justice is done.”
Indian media has run thousands of reports about safety of Indian students in Australia in the last 24 months, and the governments of both the countries have been in a dialogue to improve the safety of Indians in Australia.
However, many parents as well as Indian students feel unsafe about studying in Australia.
“There as a statistic showing a much higher incidence of racism experienced in the workplace as reported by Indian and Sri Lankans,” wrote the Management Line article in the Sydney Morning Herald, published just a few days before the incident.
“All these are alarming statistics and many seem to forget that the first white Australians themselves were boat people. White Australia is essentially a nation of migrants,” the article added.
“As some words doing the round of the Internet now say: “Your car is Japanese. Your Vodka is Russian. Your pizza is Italian. Your kebab is Turkish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American.
“Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain that your neighbour is an immigrant?””
Do you think Indians are racially abused in Australia? What are your views about the safety of Indian students in Asutralia? Leave your comments below.