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An Indian national appeared in court on Saturday 17 April after being arrested over a series of alleged gang attacks at Harris Park in Sydney’s west.
The 24-year-old, identified as Vishal Jood, was living in Australia on an expired visa and is now facing deportation, according to 7News.
“Sikhs identified by their turban were targeted because of tensions in India,” said the report referring to the nationwide protests against the Indian government’s latest farming laws.
Indian daily Times of India also described the violent series of assaults as “suspected hate crimes”.
Since September last year, officers from the Parramatta Police Area Command have been investigating a number of related incidents in Harris Park.
16 September 2020
At about 8:30 in the evening, a group of five men assaulted a man walking along Brisbane Street.
The victim was allegedly struck several times in the head with a baseball bat and then kicked when on the ground. He was then taken to Westmead Hospital for treatment of facial injuries.
14 February 2021
Around 6:30 on Sunday evening, a group of up to five men, holding sticks and other weapons, allegedly attacked a man driving a black 2015 Range Rover along Marion Street.
28 February 2021
At about 10:15 pm, a group of ten men allegedly attacked some people travelling in a vehicle on Kendall Street. While the four men inside the car managed to get away, they were followed and attacked again around the corner. The victims of the assault told 7news that they believed they were targeted because of their Sikh beliefs. Their vehicle sustained serious damage.
16 April 2021
After considering information received from the public, police arrested Vishal Jood around 6:45 on Friday morning at a house in Dixon Street, Parramatta.
Police said Jood has been charged with “three counts of affray, three counts of armed with intent commit an indictable offence, two counts of destroy or damage property » $5000 & «=$15,000 (DV), and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s).”
While the 24-year-old did not apply for bail, he was formally refused bail when he appeared in court on Saturday. As per court proceedings, he will appear before Parramatta Local Court again on 21 April.
Vishal Jood’s arrest has led to the local Indian community calling on the Indian High Commission to emphasize interaction with and monitor the behaviour of international students, The Tribune reported.
The community has also demanded a ‘pre-flight strategic awareness plan’ for those coming to study in Australia. The plan would outline national laws and values so that new arrivals remain aware of the code of conduct while integrating into the Australian community.
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