A year since her life was brutally cut short by yet to be identified murderer or murderers, Prabha Arun Kumar’s death still haunts Australia’s Indian community as well as members of the NSW Police Force and the Australian community at large.
Why has the murder of the 41 year old loving mum remained so raw and fresh, in particular, in the minds of Australian Indians? There have been other cases wherein members of the Indian diaspora lost their lives under tragic circumstances but why does Ms Kumar’s murder still unsettle members of her community, a year since the tragedy occurred on 7 March 2015?
The answer lies in what she stood for – the value system of a quintessential Indian parent who places family before personal comfort and consideration. Ms Kumar so naturally epitomised that inherent tendency of Indian parents to go that extra mile so that their children’s dream could be fulfilled, says a well-respected leader of the community.
“This lady was a hardworking person, a mother of a young daughter, who was working double shifts to earn enough money so that she could use that money for her family and for her daughter. This is exactly the value system which we share. That’s what Indian parents do,” said Dr Yadu Singh, the president of the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW.
So when the ‘double-shift’ part of the story became known through the media, the incident caught the imagination of Australian Indian community members because now they could identify themselves with the slain mother, and with what she was trying to achieve in life. ”Somebody who was coming home at 9:30 in the evening, after doing double-shift, getting killed for no reason in this brutal way has affected our community,” Dr Singh explained why the incident still hurts the community.
Finding the murderer has become such crucial that the very first file the newly-arrived Indian Consul General in Sydney, B. Vanlalvawna, studied was apparently on Ms Kumar. The IT consultant from Bangalore succumbed to life-threatening stabbing wounds after she was attacked while walking from Parramatta Station to her residence on Amos Street in Westmead.
Exactly a year down the line, community leaders, police officers and local politicians gathered at the same spot yesterday evening where there lies a plaque dedicated to the victim.
As they observe the first anniversary of the tragedy, community leaders want the culprit brought to book as soon as possible. “We do not care who the culprit or culprits are, whether they are from Australia or India or wherever they may be from, it’s not a matter of us, we are not concerned about it. We just want them to be arrested, charged and brought to justice,” Dr Singh said in his brief conversation with southasia.com.au on Tuesday.
The tragedy has deeply affected Sydney’s Indian community members to the point that there is hardly a gathering of the community where Prabha Arun Kumar is not mentioned. “What happened to the poor lady? What’s the latest?” – these questions come up wherever the Sydney-based cardiologist goes. “Wherever we collect ourselves here and there, the topic comes up in one way or the other,” Dr Singh mentioned.
Months after the tragic incident, Parramatta City Council responded to the outcry of the local Indian community by announcing a three million dollar CitySafe programme in order to boost security measures in the area. As a result, the park where Ms Kumar was murdered is today much more safer with CCTV cameras in place. The laneway through the park where she was attacked has been named Prabha’s Walk.