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Brisbane council chief says city safe for Punjabis

Owen also met SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal regarding safety of Punjabis in Australia.

punjab Updated: Jan 12, 2018 10:53 IST
Avtar singh
Avtar singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur
Brisbane council,Manmeet Alisher,Brisbane council Angela Owen
Brisbane council chairperson Angela Owen holding a photograph of Manmeet Alisher at his native village in Sangrur.(HT Photo)

Over a year after Manmeet Alisher, 29, a bus driver and an upcoming Punjabi composer and singer, was set on fire in Brisbane in October 2016, chairperson of the Brisbane council Angela Owen visited his native village Alisher on Thursday and met his family.

Manmeet, who hailed from Alisher village in Sangrur district, had gone on a student visa to Australia in 2007. In 2016, he got citizenship of Australia and was planning to get married. However, fate had something else in store. In October 2016, Manmeet was burnt to death in the driver’s seat after being attacked as shocked passengers watched.

“There are many Punjabi students studying in Brisbane. The city has inclusive and safe environment. We do as much as we can to assist all students to understand safety aspects,” said Owen.

“Manmeet was a great performer and people still miss him. His death was a rare incident. However, it is very important to us to save students and drivers from other countries because they are also part of our city,” she added.

Owen said she cannot comment on Alisher’s murder trial as the matter is in the court. “I thought it was my moral responsibility to come here and meet Manmeet’s family,” she said.

Owen also met Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal regarding safety of Punjabis in Australia.

The SGPC chief honoured Owen and urged her to ensure safety of Punjabi students and workers in Australia. “The SGPC will also write to the Australian government in this regard,” said Longowal.

On the first death anniversary of Manmeet, the Australian authorities honoured him by naming a park after him. The park has been named “Manmeet’s Paradise”. Manmeet’s entire family was called for the Brisbane city council event. A special book has also been placed in the park carrying his life sketch.

First Published: Jan 12, 2018 10:27 IST