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Sikhs Rally To Bring Injured Man's Family To NZ


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The Sikh community has rallied to raise money for air tickets for the family of an alleged carjacking victim who cannot afford to pay their way to New Zealand.

But their arrival could be some time off as none of the relatives have passports.

Sukjhinder Singh is in an induced coma in a serious but stable condition in Waikato Hospital, breathing with the aid of a ventilator.

The 21-year-old foreman of a Katikati kiwifruit gang has a broken right leg, a broken right arm, a busted right eye socket and suspected brain damage.

Mr Singh was injured after two 15-year-old boys allegedly forced him to hand over his keys at a party in Waihi before taking off with him and two teenage girls he had picked up earlier in his car to Paeroa, where they forced him to buy fast food.

Police believe a row between Mr Singh and a boy in the front seat caused the crash in the Karangahake Gorge south of Paeroa early on Saturday morning as they returned to Waihi.

His homestay host, Sandra-Jane Witana, of Katikati, told the Herald yesterday how his family from Kurukshetra in the north of India were desperate to come to New Zealand to be at his side.

But despite the local Sikh community raising enough money for their flights, his sister and father do not have passports.

Ms Witana said she was battling to understand how such a thing could happen to a "lovely young guy" whom they know as "Bunty" and think of as a son.

Mr Singh had been living at their home for the past 18 months, having studied business management at AUT but not being able to find work in his chosen field.

She said he helped the elderly with their gardening, played cricket and petanque locally and was trying to learn Maori.

"It's just horrible, he has actually tried to fit in to the way a New Zealander would live. It makes you angry, all for getting McDonald's and making him pay for their burgers."

She said Mr Singh was kind and generous but "possibly a little naive and too trusting".

Police will not know until the end of the week if charges will be laid. Sukjhinder Singh.




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