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Indian community says death of Sandringham dairy worker Janak Patel must not be in vain

People are gathering at Anns Funeral Home in Wiri, South Auckland, for the funeral of Janak Patel, the man who was killed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham on November 23.

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Hundreds attended the funeral of Janak Patel, who was fatally stabbed last Wednesday.
Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

The Indian community in New Zealand says the death of a young dairy worker should not be in vain.

Janak Patel, who was fatally stabbed outside the Rose Cottage Superette last Wednesday, was farewelled on Sunday by hundreds at a service in Auckland.

Under heavy rain and with tears, hundreds of people came to the service at Anns Funeral Home, in Wiri.

As well as family and friends, dairy owners were among those who came to pay their respects.

Sunil Bajaji has lived in New Zealand for the past 22 years and attended the service.

He said it was troubling to realise that anyone could be next.

“Beyond sadness, it’s tragic. A young man has lost his life. How do you prevent this? What’s the guarantee that the next thing is not going to happen?” he said.

During the ceremony, Patel’s family said he was a “true family man” and a “loving person who cared for everyone around him”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister Michael Wood offered Patel’s wife her condolences, but some at the funeral questioned the government’s presence.

Resident Navtej Marshal was at the ceremony and said Patel’s death called for justice.

“Our people are facing this problem every day. Nothing is happening. The prime minister came today, what did she do? Nothing,” he said.

“We can’t even come out of our homes. We Indians, we are paying our taxes, we are paying everything. Why are we getting killed?”

Funeral programme for Janak Patel who was killed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham following a robbery.

The funeral programme showing a picture of Janak Patel.
Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Manish Mistry who owns three dairies in Auckland and went to the service to show his respects.

“Sometimes, I’m scared as well.

Mistry said he tried to get support from the government to install security equipment at his shops, but did not have much luck.

“I requested the police several times to put fog canons and the police are saying that we can’t put the fog canons unless something happen in the dairy shop,” he claimed.

David Young is part of the Chinese community and said all migrant workers in New Zealand should stick together.

“We support the Indian community. The Chinese community and the Indian community are the same.”

“If that’s happening with the Indian community maybe next time will be happening to us. We feel that enough is enough,” Young said.

People at Anns Funeral Home in Wiri, South Auckland, for the funeral of Janak Patel, the man who was killed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham on November 23.

As well as friends and family, dairy owners came to pay their respects to Janak Patel.
Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

With the death of Patel, dairy owners are planning to hold a nationwide protest today.

Indian Central Association president Narendra Bhana said protests would be held outside MPs’ offices across the country – including the Prime Minister’s Mt Albert office.

Some small businesses would close for half a day to join demonstrations, he said.

“We want tougher laws for offenders. And our businesses, they want to be able to sleep at night and earn that day’s living.”

New Zealand is not [the] New Zealand that it was a couple of years ago, so we basically want a better country to live in, Bhana said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and minister Michael Wood were among hundreds who attended the funeral of Rose Cottage Superette worker Janak Patel on Sunday, November 27.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister Michael Wood (right) were among the hundreds of people who attended the funeral.
Photo: Rayssa Almeida/RNZ

Migrant Workers Association president Anu Kaloti said action should be about supporting the family in their grief.

“No person should be using Janak and his murder as a political football. This is absolutely shocking, inappropriate and disrespectful.

“What should be happening is we should be all gathering around and asking the family directly or indirectly what kind of support we can provide them,” Kaloti said.

Three men have been charged in relation to Janak Patel’s death – one of them charged with murder and aggravated robbery.

Story Credit: rnz.co.nz

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