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Bhajji’s nephew victim of Oz racism?

Amid racial attacks on Indian students in Australia, cricketer Harbhajan Singh's cousin Jagjit Singh has claimed that his son, who went to Australia in 2004 to study management, was killed in a racist attack in Melbourne, report Jasdeep Singh Malhotra & Kamaljeet Paul.

india Updated: May 31, 2009 00:04 IST

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh’s nephew Upkar may be yet another victim of the recent racial attacks in Australia. The 26-year-old taxi driver was found dead on the railway tracks in Victoria’s Thornbury area on May 7.

Upkar was a permanent resident of Thornbury. His father Jagjit Singh (62) is Harbhajan's cousin.

Jagjit claimed Upkar had been the target of a racial attack. He said Upkar had rung him up once to tell him about a brawl that took place between Punjabi and Australian taxi drivers.

“I believe my son was killed even as Victoria police have termed it a suicide. There were no injury marks on his body except a deep cut above his right eyebrow and another injury mark on his hip. The Australian authorities must investigate the matter in a transparent manner,” he said.

The death certificate issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria has not specified any cause of death. “Causes yet to be established,” said the certificate issued on May 11.

Upkar’s body was flown to India on May 14, and he was cremated in Jalandhar on May 15.

“Upkar had gone to Australia on a student visa after getting admission in a hospitality management course five years ago. Later, he was granted permanent residency and was due to get citizenship soon. He had cleared all formalities and tests on May 6. “How can such a man commit suicide?” said his mother Surinder Kaur (58).

Jagjit quoted Upkar’s roommate Happy while narrating the incidents that took place on May 7. Upkar, he said, reached his Thornbury apartment around 4 p.m. and prepared dinner for himself and his two roommates. He then went out, but left his mobile phone and wallet behind. He took his keys with him after locking the entrance gate.

The three would keep the key at an entrance point for everyone’s convenience. Happy, who reached home at 6 p.m., was searching for the key when the Victoria police came to inform about Upkar’s death.

Now, Upkar’s family wants the Punjab government to take up the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs.

First Published: May 30, 2009 22:31 IST