SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

  • Alex Bhathal (L), Manmeet Alisher(R) (Facebook)
The Greens' Alex Bhathal has criticised the Queensland Police for naming the attack of Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher a "random act" and not a racially motivated one, saying that it may cause many members of the South Asian community to feel their has been "a miscarriage of the course of justice".
2 Nov 2016 - 4:19 PM  UPDATED 3 Nov 2016 - 1:06 PM

Speaking to SBS today, Ms Bhathal said if the attacker had been Indian, it would have been linked to terrorism even before knowing the facts.

Queensland Police has declined to comment on Greens politician Alex Bhathal’s criticism of the force for making a "blanket statement" about the killing of Manmeet Alisher being a "random act".

Ms. Bhathal, while addressing a gathering of the Indian community in Melbourne on Tuesday said the police had announced that the attack wasn’t racial even before the case was brought before a court.

She questioned why the police had to make the statement when the investigation had just begun.

"We have a police spokesperson very shortly after the incident occurred coming out and making a blanket statement that there is no racial element involved in this attack. So what really I am questioning is why did that spokesperson feel the need to come out and say that so quickly. And I am also questioning the validity of a statement like that,” said Ms. Bhathal.

Ms. Bhathal said this was not an isolated incident.

“We are all part of a society in which there are often attacks on people and some of these attacks are racially motivated. We know that from the research.”

She said some members of the community feel a sense of injustice due to this statement by the police.

“What I believe this has done in this case is to alarm some people in the South Asian-Australian community to feel that perhaps there will be some kind of miscarriage of the course of justice,” Ms. Bhathal added.

She said that if the perpetrator had been an Indian, there would have been no statement that it was a random attack.

“We know that it would have been tagged into a broader context of terrorism regardless of the facts,” she told the gathering on Tuesday.

“There is a systemic discrimination built into our justice system in Australia. I think the very high rate of incarceration of aboriginal men, in particular, is an indication. That’s a very clear evidence of that,” she told SBS Punjabi.

Ms. Bhathal says she can’t comment if the attack on Manmeet Alisher was racially motivated.

“I can’t say. And that’s exactly my point that no one will know. Maybe some of the investigators will have a clearer idea now once you are in communication with the alleged attacker.”

However she has sought to reassure the community that justice will be done in this case.

When contacted by SBS Punjabi for a comment, a spokesperson for the Queensland Police department said that police officers in their media conferences had stated that “there was no evidence of a racial motivation to the attack”.

The spokesperson refused a further comment citing the matter was before the courts.

For more news and updates, follow SBS Punjabi on Facebook

Related stories
Brisbane Council donates $10,000 to the family of Manmeet Alisher

Brisbane City Council has established a fund to benefit the family of slain bus driver Manmeet Alisher.

Manmeet Alisher’s body to be flown to India on Thursday
Manmeet Alisher's mortal remains will be taken to his family home in Sangrur district for his last rites.
Manmeet Alisher Death: Greens' Alex Bhathal raises concerns over media coverage and police statements

Green’s Alex Bhathal has asked some serious questions about the recent media coverage and police statements in regards to Manmeet Alisher's tragic death.  Preetinder Singh Grewal reports...

Man who first saw Manmeet Alisher on fire describes the horrific scene
Peter Buxton saw accused assailant Anthony O'Donohue running out of the bus after he allegedly set Manmeet Alisher on fire.
Brisbane to have a permanent memorial to honour Manmeet Alisher

Alisher family spokesperson, Winnerjit Singh Goldy has shared word of thanks to the local community for their care, support and kind words in their time of grieving.  

PM Turnbull reacts to the brutal killing of an Indian immigrant bus driver, Manmeet Alisher

PM Turnbull shows concerns over the death of an Indian immigrant bus driver last week in Brisbane.  Preetinder Singh Grewal reports...

Man accused of Manmeet Alisher’s murder was mental health patient- Qld govt
A review has been ordered into how a mental health patient was cared for before he allegedly set fire to a Brisbane bus driver.
Modi calls Turnbull to express concern over Manmeet Alisher's 'brutal killing'
Manmeet's brother and another relative arrived in Australia to take his body to India for his last rites.
Brisbane bus attack: Accused bus driver killer Anthony O'Donohue 'numb' says lawyer
A man accused of setting a Brisbane bus driver on fire is "numb" after being charged with murder, his lawyer says.
'He was a very lively man who had a short yet meaningful life:' family, friends remember bus driver burnt to death

Devastated friends, family and complete strangers have come forward to pay their respects to the Brisbane youngster, Indian migrant Manmeet Alisher who was burnt to death in Moorooka, Brisbane. Preetinder Singh Grewal reports...