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Uncontrolled rage claims a human life

New Zealanders were shocked to hear of the death of a young man, following a brutal attack in Auckland’s Central Business District last week.

Twenty-five-year-old Tarun Asthana succumbed to the injuries that he sustained outside an eatery in Britomart on November 3. The accused, stated to be Grenville McFarland (27) appeared in an Auckland Court two days later and was granted bail on ‘strict conditions.’ He is due to appear before the Court today (November 15).

Police reports said that the accused attacked Tarun on his head and that the victim fell heavily to the ground, striking his head on the pavement.

It was a tragic end to the budding teacher’s life.

The incident is a sad example of how moments of insanity and influence of intoxicants can have disastrous consequences. All reports emanating so far indicate that the accused totally misunderstood Tarun’s compliment towards one of his female friends, as having indecent connotations.

In a fit of rage and probable misplaced male chauvinism, he hit an innocent man, cutting short a young life.

Such incidents have no place in a civilised society and should be condemned. The disappointing fallout of this case has been media coverage of the incident; especially in India. In an overtly competitive media market, the Indian media painted this assault as an act of racism.

Newspapers, radio stations and television channels have reported this incident as a ‘planned attack’ on a person of different ethnicity. The sad story was twisted, with different dimensions added. The persons behind these media houses apparently believe that stories demarcating people based on their skin colour and pitting an Indian against a Westerner would make their story more attractive.

How easy it is to call for a panel discussion with panellists of varying levels of dubious distinctions in their respective fields, debating the merits and demerits of Indians living overseas. It was interesting to note how Indians, who have made a mark outside their country, were accused of being disloyal to their motherland in the short duration of that programme.

The correct story, which has not been highlighted outside New Zealand, is that Tarun’s unfortunate death was the fallout of mindless action from a man obviously unfit to walk free on the roads. Every society has its good and bad elements. Isolated incidents cannot mar the image of the country at large.

A well-established fact is that New Zealand in general is a safe, beautiful and corruption-free country. People here are not discriminated on the basis of race, creed, colour or religion. All of us get equal opportunities and live in peace and harmony.

The Indian media should highlight the efficiency of the New Zealand Police in bringing the culprit to justice, within hours after the heinous incident.

This is a far cry from India where many a time, criminals are difficult to catch, and the time span between a crime and its conviction is very long, with no guarantee that the culprit will be punished at all.

New Zealand should also look at its drinking culture, and liquor laws. Intoxication is causing havoc on and off our roads. More needs to be done to promote a safe drinking culture. Work places need to work more closely with government agencies in providing help to employees who might need emotional or psychological support. Auckland was recently voted as one of the best cities in the world. It obviously needs more police, private security and security cameras on the streets during peak hours over the weekend. Exemplary punishment should be given to offenders to deter other people from committing such deplorable acts.

Tarun’s family is devastated but his mother said that she had forgiven the accused.

All of us should take a step back, understand the gravity of the situation and consider how we can prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

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