News National Brutal bus death sparks call from Indian PM to Turnbull

Brutal bus death sparks call from Indian PM to Turnbull

Bus driver death
A floral tribute at the bus stop in Morooka, Brisbane, where driver Manmeet Alisher died. Photo: AAP.
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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called Malcolm Turnbull to express concern over the killing of Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher.

Mr Alisher, who was originally from Punjab in northern India, died last Friday when an incendiary device similar to a Molotov cocktail was allegedly thrown inside his bus, setting him on fire at a Moorooka bus stop.

In a statement, India’s ministry of external affairs said Mr Modi telephoned the Australian Prime Minister last night.

According to the Indian statement, Mr Turnbull told Mr Modi that he was “shocked” by the brutal killing and said the matter was being investigated.

Queensland police have said there is no evidence the crime was racially motivated but, following a series of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne in 2009, there is suspicion in India that Mr Alisher’s killing was a hate crime.

The 29-year-old’s brother, Amit Alisher, arrived in Brisbane on Sunday morning on a flight from India to take his brother’s body home.

Shortly before his departure from India, Amit told the ABC that while the family accepted there was no evidence it was a hate crime, they feared the worst.

“We suspect that it may be [racially motivated].”

“We would like to see due process, we have faith in the Australian system.”

Brisbane bus death
Manmmet Alisher was due to be married in India. Photo: Facebook.

‘We just say it’s an accident’: parents unaware of Alisher’s death

On Sunday, Amit was taken to the memorial for his brother at Moorooka, near the place where he died.

He was too distressed to speak to media, but family friend Winnerjit Goldy said Manmeet’s parents were sick and old, and were yet to learn of their son’s death.

“We haven’t told the parents that he’s no more, we just say it’s an accident, he’s in a coma,” Mr Goldy said.

On Saturday night, more than 1,000 people, including cab drivers, bus drivers and members of the community, attended another memorial service to pay tribute to Mr Alisher, following a vigil on Friday night.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested and charged with Mr Alisher’s murder.

Anthony Mark Edward O’Donohue, 48, appeared in a Brisbane court on Saturday, accused of murder, arson and 11 counts of attempted murder, and is due to appear in court again next month.