Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Robbed’, ‘ram-raided’, ‘murdered’ – Indian dairy workers’ petition to NZ Parliament

As incidents of crime and robbery continue unabated in New Zealand, a group of dairy store owners, mostly of Indian descent, presented a petition signed by 34,000 people to the New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday, calling for government action.

The petitioners have called on the government to take a harder stance on crime, with more police presence on the streets, legal penalties for parents of youth offenders, and stronger punishments for teenagers who were offending, the NZ Herald reported.

“There was a consensus among Kiwis that something needed to be done. We are being burgled and robbed 18 times a day, we are getting ram-raided every ten hours,” Sunny Kaushal, who leads the Dairy and Business Owners Group in New Zealand, said.

The petition, which says ‘enough is enough’, comes after 34 year-old Indian-origin dairy worker Janak Patel was brutally stabbed to death last year during an alleged robbery at the Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham.

Three men have been charged with his murder and will go to trial next year.

Following Patel’s death, protests erupted in New Zealand with people turning up in huge numbers asking the government to do more to combat robberies.

Even though the country announced new measures to counter retail crime, which included providing a NZ$4,000 subsidy to shop owners to install fog cannons in their shops to stop burglaries, crime has continued unabated.

Patel’s father, who was among the petitioners, demanded a strong action from the government in preventing such tragedies in future.

The group also presented a manifesto, which called on the government to reform the laws of self-defence and the defence of property based on the Australian Criminal Code, among other things.

“We need to feel safe in our communities… it is a time for red lines before we have another murder in New Zealand,” Kaushal told NZ Herald.

Just a day before the petition was presented, three masked men rammed their way into a vape store owned by an Indian-origin Pawik Patel in Goulstone Road, and stole products worth NZ$8000.

Indians make up 5 per cent of the New Zealand population.

According to a Ministry of External Affairs data, there are 240,000 Indians residing in New Zealand, out of which there are 1.6 lakh people of Indian origin and 80,000 NRIs.

The New Zealand government statistics said there were close to 23 ram raids in the Northland region alone until November 20, 2022.

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