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Australian authorities have pledged to build a memorial in honour of an Indian-origin bus driver whose brutal killing in Brisbane last month had triggered massive outrage among the Indian community in the country. A preliminary investigation by the Australian authorities into the killing of 29-year-old Manmeet Sharma alias Alisher has indicated mental illness of the assailant as the probable cause of the horrific crime.
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Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, said the Brisbane City Council has pledged to honour Manmeet, who was a well-known singer in the Punjabi community, by setting up a permanent memorial for him. He said the Council has set up a fund to support Manmeet’s family to which an initial contribution of USD 10,000 each has been made by the Lord Mayor’s office and Queensland Premier’s Office.
Manmeet was burnt to death on October 28 and the incident had triggered strong outrage among the Indians in Australia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised India’s concern over the incident with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.
“Motive for the attack is still under investigation but preliminary interrogation has indicated mental illness of the assailant as the probable cause,” said Singh. A 48-year-old man had been taken into custody over the incident.
Manmeet was driving a Brisbane City Council bus when he was targeted by a man who threw an “incendiary device” at him which sparked a fire. He died on the spot while several passengers on board the bus at the time managed to escape through the rear door.
Singh said as per reports, there were 11 passengers in the bus at the time of the attack, who were rescued by a taxi driver passing by. He said India has called for a thorough investigation so that justice is delivered to the bereaved family.
“On October 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia and conveyed concern over the brutal killing. Prime Minister Turnbull assured that the matter is being investigated,” he said.