Australian Indian community remembers students killed in car crash

July 10th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by IANS  


Sydney, July 10 (IANS) The thousand-odd Indian students at the La Trobe University in Australia’s Victoria state are yet to come to terms with the loss of two compatriots, who died in a car crash last month. A Hindu memorial service observed in Melbourne last week in honour of Abhishek Singh Rana, 22, who was driving the car, and his friend Prashant Sharma, 25, has helped their families, the Indian community and students at the university in the grieving process.

The two-hour service was performed at La Trobe’s Chisholm College by a Hindu priest.

Prashant’s father, Bhuwan Sharma, said: “My son taught thousands and thousands of people how to live - how to enjoy life fully. He was an all-rounder, he had a brilliant mind, could play sports and the guitar.”

Abhishek’s sister, Divya Singh, said her brother was “full of life” and had just turned 22 a day before the June 14 fatal accident.

For parents back home in India, who strive to send their children overseas to pursue higher studies, such news come as the worst nightmare. Grief-stricken family members praised the university for its unconditional support to them during this very difficult time.

“The university has been proactive in assisting the parents of these students with travel and other arrangements. We are also continuing to provide counselling support to students impacted by this traumatic experience,” La Trobe University’s chief officer John Molony told IANS.

Sharma and Khullar were post-graduate students studying double degrees with masters in financial analysis and professional accounting, who shared a house in the Reservoir suburb.

Flat mate Rahul Bimrah was quoted by the local media as saying: “They were good guys who worked hard, studied hard and loved cricket.”

The car driven by Rana is said to have hit a fire hydrant and a bus stop before smashing through a light pole and lodging between a tree and shop front in the early hours of June 14.

A third student, Torqueer Khullar, 23, was in the rear seat and sustained serious leg injuries. He is undergoing rehabilitation at the La Trobe independent private hospital, located on the campus.

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