10 Jan 2010

Indian set alight in Melbourne

2:04 pm on 10 January 2010

An Indian man is in a serious condition in a Melbourne hospital after being set alight in an attack by a gang.

An Indian graduate student, Nitin Garg, 21, was stabbed to death on his way to work in the city the previous Saturday night, prompting a travel advisory from the Indian government.

Melbourne police said the latest attack appeared to be random and there was no evidence it was racially motivated.

Jaspreet Singh, 29, was returning home from a dinner party with his wife when he was set upon in Essendon shortly before 2.00am (AEDT) on Saturday.

Four men poured fluid over him and then set him alight. The ABC reports he has burns to 20% of his body.

Police have a general description of who the offenders could be.

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Smyth described the circumstances as "a bit strange".

There was a spate of attacks against Indian students last year.

The Indian government has issued an advisory warning about the dangers of travelling to Melbourne, Australia's second largest city.

Foreign students were worth $A13 billion ($US11.93 billion) in 2007-08.

Aaccording to Immigration Department figures issued this week, the number of Indian students wanting to study in Australia fell by 46% between July - October last year,

Funeral today

Mr Garg's body has been returned to his family in the northern state of Punjab.

The ABC reports a cremation service will be held on Sunday.

Mr Garg's relatives say they want his death to put an end to assaults on Indians in Victoria.