There is anger and disappointment among the members of the Indian community in Auckland as the past week saw another gruesome murder, bringing the total number of killings to four in as many weeks in the area.
Arun Kumar (57) was stabbed by a 13-year old youth in his Redside Dairy located on Great North Road in Henderson on Tuesday, June 10, apparently demanding cigarettes. He appeared before the Waitakere District Court the following day charged with aggravated robbery and murder while his accomplice, a 12-year old youth was charged with aggravated robbery. Both have been remanded in custody of Child, Youth and Family and both have name suppression.
Community reaction has been sharp with tempers running high. Indian Newslink received several phone calls, emails and text messages in each of which members of the public had given vent to their disappointment saying that rising crime levels in the Waitakere region has shattered the confidence of people.
“It is highly untenable that two youngsters can walk into a diary at 730 am; one of them stabs the owner (Arun Kumar) and runs away. We believe that the community has been let down and a life has been unnecessarily lost,” they said.
New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) President Harshad Patel said that the offender in this case was not discouraged by the CCTV camera operating in the Dairy, since the footage has no immediate effect and the ‘monster did not care about the consequences.’
“This beast is a creation of the wider community. By accepting children on the streets during school hours, by supporting parents who do not look after their children and by allowing gangs to proliferate, we are breeding criminals at an alarming pace. The offender knows that human rights exist for his security,” he said.
Association General Secretary Prakash Biradar said that he and the members of the Executive Committee will meet Police Minister Ann Tolley this week to discuss ways and means of improving the safety and security of retailers.
The Kumar family has requested privacy, especially from the media.
In a statement, his wife said that the lives of the members of the family were standstill.
“Arun was a perfect husband, a perfect dad and a perfect son. He cared about his family. We have been running the shop for the last five years and he loved his shop. It was less of a job and more of a hobby because he loved talking to people,” she said.
More than 500 people attended his funeral held on Saturday, June 14 at Bolderwood Place in Wiri (Manukau).
Police Commissioner Mike Bush described the killing as ‘an absolute tragedy for the family and the Henderson community.’
“Our thoughts are with family and friends of Mr Kumar,” he said.
He said that it was important that the whole community feels safe and that they can be assured that the New Zealand Police works hard to protect them.
“We will respond when called upon to do so. A good example of this is the work of the Henderson Community Constable, and our Ethnic Liaison officers who are very active in the community. They have established great relationships and will continue to work closely with local retailers,” Mr Bush said.
According to him, the number of patrols has increased in the Henderson Central Business District in partnership with local Pacific and Ethnic wardens.
“These partnerships and increased presence will continue, as will the commitment of New Zealand Police to preventing crime and reducing the number of victims in our communities,” he said.