Prabha Arun Kumar, a 41-year-old IT employee with Mindtree, was winding up her stint with the company in Sydney and planning to head back to Bangalore in April for good to spend time with her nine-year-old daughter Meghana and husband Arun Kumar when she was fatally stabbed in Paramatta last Saturday night. Meghana was only six-years when Prabha took up a contract in Sydney and she was missing Meghana so much that she had a constant desire to go back to India.
The stabbing incident happened on 8 March, inernational women’s day, when Prabha was returning home working a double shift at her workplace in The Rocks, Sydney. Prabha’s friends in Sydney had warned her many times before on the dangers of taking the fatal route. Prabha was stabbed multiple times on her neck in a lane way connecting Park Parade, Parramatta and Amos Street, Westmead at around 9.30 PM.
Prabha’s nephew Thrijesh Jayachandran told the Indian media that Prabha was their “pillar” and they could go to her for any help, anytime. He said: “She was the strongest of us all. Every time something had to be done and if there was a problem in the family, my aunt would be the one taking charge and getting it resolved.”
Prabha had worked eight years in Bangalore before she got a stint to work in Australia. The family was delighted when she got the offer to work overseas. However, Prabha missed her family so much that she was waiting to finish her project and return to her family. Prabha was on the phone talking to her husband Arun Kumar when she was stabbed. Prabha noticed a “suspicious man” following her and had told her husband about her fears. Her last words to her husband before the phone line got disconnted was: “I have been stabbed, darling.”
Soon after Prabha was stabbed, Arun Kumar called Prabha’s flatmates and colleagues and informed them about the incident. The Police and Ambulance were immediately alerted and Prabha was rushed to the hospital where she died. Arun Kumar had taken the flight the same night to Sydney. However, Kumar was not informed about Prabha’s death till he reached Sydney. Their daughter Meghana is unaware of her mother’s death and is being looked after by her uncle in India.
Prabha’s brother lives in Perth and was informed about the stabbing the same evening Prabha’s brother called the local police authority in Sydney around 11 PM. He was informed that she was stabbed in the neck and her situation was critical. Around 2 AM the next day Prabha’s family in India received a call about the death.
NSW Premier Baird condemned the assault and expressed confidence that the police will bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. “I was shocked and horrified to hear about the attack on Prabha Arun Kumar and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this devastating time. 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,” Baird said. Baird was celebrating Holi in Parramatta on the day. The NSW government has stepped in quickly to ensure the Indian community that all necessary measures are taken to follow through the investigation. NSW police are said to be door knocking in the area to find more clues. Unlike the Victorian state government’s response in the past during attacks on international students, the NSW government has moved swiftly to allay any fears in the Indian community.
Consul General of India in Sydney Sanjay Sudhir, Prabha’s husband Arun Kumar, and a representative of her employer Mindtree, had a meeting with the NSW police during which they were informed about a special detective squad being formed to probe the attack.
Indian External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj reacted to the murder by saying she was pained by the incident and that she’s constantly in touch with the consulate.
“I am in constant touch with our Consulate in Sydney. The Consulate is providing all help. I have just spoken to Mr Arun Kumar, husband of the victim. He is satisfied with the assistance from the Consulate,” Swaraj said.
Published in The Indian Sun