‘If a crime has been committed, one needs to be punished’

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Indian community leaders speak on Puneet Puneet

The case of Indian born hit-and-run fugitive Puneet is back in the news. It took nearly four years for the police to search for the absconding Puneet, who was convicted for killing a 19 year old Melbourne girl and injuring another 20 year old, while driving at a speed of 150 kms per hour with a blood alcohol level of 0.165.

He was charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injuries. The case became even more complex when he absconded on someone else’s passport.

The four-year man hunt came to an end last week.

But then came a twist inthe story when Puneet’s father Naresh Rawal made a statement that his sonwas not an accused but a victim. He stated that he did not have the resources to fight his son’s case either in India or in Australia.

This is what the Indian community people have to say about this case.

Balvinder Ruby, principal, Real Estate Experts or REEX

Puneet’s case is a simple one — a young bratwho was involved in hit and run case. This happened at a time when rules for coming to Australia on student visa were very lenient and a lot of non-serious and non-genuine kinds of students came here.Those days, a lot of criminal activities took place involving Indians.

These crimes were passed on as racial attacks thinking truth will never come to light. Those days, nine out of ten such cases were found to be self-creation. Indian media also hyped the cases. Finally, the Australian government introduced changes in the visa systemthat made it more stringent.

This particularcase of Puneet also highlights how casually fewpeople take such incidents.His friend offered his passport to Puneet to escape, thinking it will be left undetected. The corrupt Indian system was able to hide Puneet for four years. The Australian government finally declared a 100000 dollar prize for anyone helping in his arrest and that was tempting and he was finally caught.

The absence of condemnation of such activity from the Australian community is surprising and is not good for the community.

Dr Yadu Singh,cardiologist

A segment of Indian media is calling every crime involving Indians in Australia a racist crime. They don’t even wait for the full facts. It is grossly unfair, inappropriate, and immatureand, I argue, racist. Everything in Australia is racist and the very same crimes in India are not.

Puneet drove under the influence of alcohol, and was involved in a hit and run case. He was trailed and convicted. While waiting for the sentence, he jumped bail and ran away from Australia, using a false passport. Is it ok for an Indian to kill someone else?

If a crime has been committed, one needs to be punished for it.

As for his father’s statement that Australia’s jails are not safe for Indians, I would only that   Australian system is very fair. There have been cases when the Australian judicial system was found wrong, and they paid heavy compensation for that, so I have full trust in Australian law and order.

A crime is a crime and a criminal should be punished.

Australia is a welcoming country and Indians know that. It was the Indian media that overreacted to the events a few years ago as well.Indian migrants know while there are a few [racists], the rules and regulation of this country are not in any way racist.

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