It needs one incident to unite the community. And, the news of brutal murder of Indian Techie Prabha Arun Kumar on 7 March 2015 spread like wild fire engulfing the entire Sydney, Melbourne, other Australian cities and the heat was also felt in India.
Prabha was walking up the Parramatta Park towards her home and talking to her husband in India when she was accosted by some tall man who apparently stabbed her in the neck and chest. “ I think I’ve been stabbed,” she told him before collapsing in a pool of blood. The line then went dead.
The man who had heard her cries tried to give her CPR till the ambulance arrived and took her to Westmead hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
“It is a nightmare. I don’t know why this happens to good people,” Ms Kumar’s friend and flatmate, who asked only to be identified as Sarada, said.
“I don’t know how I’m going to face her husband. She is very close to her husband and daughter.
“She talks to them every day, as soon as she finishes work she calls her husband and keeps talking. She has a good family.”
On 11 March some 400 people had braved thunder storm and gathered at the Parramatta Park to retrace Prabha’s steps to the spot where she had died. The people, after prayers, offered their homage by placing floral wreaths and lit candles.
While Police said it has turned no stone unturned and set up a special task force to investigate the murder, the local politicians said steps are being taken to better lighting in the area for the safety of the people.
Earlier, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Communities and Citizenship Victor Dominello sought to reassure the Indian community that every effort is being made to investigate the fatal attack on an Indian woman at Westmead and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“I was shocked and horrified to hear about the attack on Mrs Prabha Arun Kumar and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this devastating time,” Mr Baird said.
“I was particularly saddened to hear about the attack, which took place on Saturday just hours after I had joined the Indian community to celebrate Holi, the ancient Hindu festival of colours at Parramatta.
“This was a brutal and cowardly attack on a member of the public that is now being investigated by a dedicated team of police officers and detectives.
“I have every confidence that Strike Force Marcoala will use every resource available to help bring the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice.
Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello said contact has been made with the Indian Consul-General to ensure Ms Kumar’s family receives support and assistance throughout the police investigation.
“I have spoken with Indian Consul-General Sunjay Sudhir and assured him no stone will be left unturned to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice,” Mr Dominello said.
“The people of NSW have a very strong affinity for India and its people and I want to reassure the people of India that the NSW Government is treating this investigation with the highest possible priority.”
Regarding the candle light vigil, Mr. Baird said, “I was touched to hear the community had organised a gathering at the park where Mrs Prabha Arun Kumar tragically lost her lost her life.
“Last night’s candlelight vigil demonstrates how shocked we are that such a vicious attack could have taken place in suburban Sydney, where we live in peace and harmony.”
“The community united in mourning last night and Prabha’s family can take comfort in the knowledge they are in our thoughts and prayers at this devastating time.”
“A dedicated team of police officers and detectives is investigating Prabha’s death and I am confident the perpetrator of this crime will be brought to justice.”
On Thursday, 12th March, husband and brother of Prabha Mr. G. Arun Kumar and Mr. Shankar Shetty, respectively addressed the media and said, “I am a husband who has lost his wife and the father of a young girl who has lost her beloved mother.
I cannot describe to you the pain I presently feel. My wife was the most caring and beautiful soul.
Prabha was planning to buy a little penguin toy and send it to our daughter in India, but now she will never be able to do that.
I know that we can’t bring her back but I want whoever killed my gorgeous wife to be brought to justice.
If you have any information that can help police, please contact Crime Stoppers.
Her brother Shankar Shetty said, ” I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I have lost my much-loved sister.
The pain I have felt since my sister’s death has been unimaginable. No one deserves to have any of their family taken away from them in these horrible circumstances.
My sister was a loving wife, mother, daughter and sibling. She was loved by many.
We don’t want any other family to go through the pain we are going through. Tragically, Prabha will never see her daughter grow up.
I appeal to anyone who has any information to contact police. Please help detectives catch whoever killed my sister.
And finally I say this to the person who did this; you have taken my sister’s life, please step forward, get help, and get your life back.
While her husband has taken Prabha’s body back to India for final rites, there has been no communication or update from Consul-General’s office in Sydney or High Commissioner’s office in Canberra.
A few questions still remain unanswered. Why the Mindtree, where Prabha worked did not provide a cab or any other conveyance her, especially when she was doing a double shift. Why the lonely Park area is not brightly illuminated so the people can feel safe.
A Mindtree spokeswoman said: “We are providing all the necessary support to authorities investigating the case.”
Yadu Singh, president of the Indian Australian Association of NSW, said neither the Sydney Indian community nor the Indian media were treating the death as a race-related crime.
But he said the community felt “sadness, shock, frustration, agitation and even a bit of resentment” at a lack of security in Western Sydney.
Mr Singh said in the last 10 years it had become more common for Indian women to work overseas and send money back to their families.