x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Manslaughter charge in death of Indian boy

Australian police have charged a man with manslaughter over the mysterious death of an Indian toddler whose body was found dumped by the side of a road.

Australian police have charged a man with manslaughter over the mysterious death of an Indian toddler whose body was found dumped by the side of a road. Gurshan Singh's body, who was in Australia with his parents, was found in long grass beside an isolated road in Melbourne's north on Thursday night. An initial autopsy was inconclusive and a cause of death has not been revealed. Police said Dhillon Gursewak, 23, who lived in the same house as the little boy, had been charged with manslaughter due to criminal negligence.

The toddler disappeared from a suburban house on Thursday afternoon while his mother was taking a shower and his father was at a nearby library. His body was found about six hours later 30 kilometres away. There had been fears the case could have further damaged relations between Australia and India which have plunged in recent months following a series of attacks on Indian students, including the murder of a 21-year-old Punjab man.

It comes as the foreign minister Stephen Smith last week made a goodwill visit to India designed to bolster ties between the growing trade partners and quell fears about the safety of Indian students in Australia. Mr Smith admitted on Sunday that "we do have a job to repair some damage to our reputation as a result of the way in which the students issue has been perceived". He said Australians had a lot in common with Indians in terms of democracy, shared values and an interest in sport.

The child's distraught parents, who are from Punjab in northern Indian and who had both been studying in Australia, were seen leaving an interview with police shortly ahead of the arrest. *AFP