Tag Archives: Yannick Nihangaza

Doaba’s Disgrace


Doaba’s disgrace

AJOY ASHIRWAD MAHAPRASHASTA
in Jalandhar and Patiala

Frontline
Volume 29 – Issue 16 :: Aug. 11-24, 2012

The attack on an African student points to Punjab’s new culture of intolerance and money power.

AKHILESH KUMAR 

Nestor Ntibateganya at the side of his comatose son Yannick Nihangaza in a hospital in Patiala on July 12. 

DOABA, the region between the rivers Beas and Sutlej in Punjab, has historically been a cosmopolitan place owing to its environmental prosperity. Because of this, the population is a healthy mix of Hindu Banias, who flourish because of the many business centres in the region; Sikhs, who rely on the fertile soil for cultivation; and a large number of migrants, who sustain themselves on the belt’s industrial prosperity.

Despite occasional tensions between the communities, by and large harmony has prevailed because of their economic dependence on each other. But one recent incident in Jalandhar, in the heart of Doaba, has shown how fragile this harmony is.

On April 22, a group of youngsters belonging to the Sikh and Hindu communities beat up Yannick Nihangaza, a student from the African country of Burundi. In the brutal attack, his head was smashed with a boulder, which sent him into a state of coma. For about three months, he lay in a hospital in Patiala on life support. The police and the rest of the State administration did not take any action despite several police complaints, and no arrests were made.

Yannick’s father, Nestor Ntibateganya, even wrote two letters to the Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, seeking justice and also permission to take his son to Burundi as there was little hope for his son’s recovery.

It was only in early July, when the national media highlighted the plight of the African student, that the Punjab government took note of the case and urged the police to take the guilty to task. After the media reported the story for a week, the State government announced a compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the victim and promised to extend all necessary help. But even then State authorities did not care to enquire about the reasons for the attack, which the media alleged was racist.

Since then nine persons have been suspected of involvement in the attack, most of them coming from influential families. Seven of them have been arrested. They include the son of a Superintendent of Police in the State and three others who are sons of rich businessmen of Jalandhar. The high-profile arrests have given some prominence to the case, which highlights the increasing intolerance towards outsiders in the State and shows how feudal power and money power collude to manipulate the democratic system.

This is evident from the way the police handled the case and the reaction of the middle class to the incident. The first information report (FIR) states that there are nine accused in the case but names only eight of them and refuses to name the ninth accused despite demands by the media.

One of Yannick’s friends, Abagbe, told Frontline that that there was an altercation between Yannick and one of the accused at a liquor shop on the evening of April 22. Yannick left for his residence after that, but the other person decided to follow him and call his friends for assistance. All the assailants were drunk and they attacked the Burundian with iron rods and stones. “We were inside the house and did not hear anything,” Abagbe said. An autorickshaw driver, who was passing by, took the motionless Yannick to hospital.

However, the police have a different version. The FIR says that there was an altercation at the liquor shop between an African student and Sahildeep Singh, son of a high-ranking official in a bank. When Sahildeep returned with his friends, they saw Yannick, who was going to a party, and mistook him for their target and attacked him. The police are making it out to be a case of mistaken identity, which goes with the regional prejudice that all African students look the same. But some political analysts in the State allege that the mistaken identity case has been brought up to reduce the punishment for the guilty. This may not be off the mark as the police have not even tried to identify the African who is believed to have been involved in the broil. Neither have they made enquiries with Yannick’s friends.

A journalist from Doaba pointed out that the attackers were in a party to celebrate the grant of an Australian visa to one of the accused, Jaskaran Singh Jassa, who is still absconding. When Sahildeep called them, they arrived in three vehicles to beat up the African student. A few other journalists, in their reports, dismissed the event as a minor, routine scuffle. In other words, the racist colour given to the incident is denied.

Migrant labour

Scuffles involving migrant labourers are common in Doaba. The shortage of agricultural and industrial workers in Punjab had created a huge demand for labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who are willing to work on meagre wages. For the past 20 years, these labourers have been exploited not just by their employers but by the Punjabi elite as a whole.


Police taking one of the accused, Ramneek Singh Uppal, son of a police officer, to a court in Jalandhar on July 9. 

Regular beatings, insults and police torture have become part of the lives of the migrant population in Doaba.

The migrant labourers have a place in Punjabi society thanks to the craze in Doaba for immigration to foreign countries. Almost every family in Doaba has at least one member who has migrated abroad and sends home money. Prosperity in Doaba can be attributed to foreign remittances.

A university in Jalandhar

There was a small change in this scenario when a private university called Lovely Professional University came up a decade ago in the suburbs of Jalandhar. LPU is the biggest private university in India and has attracted foreign students, especially Africans. Yannick was a first-year degree student of computer sciences at LPU.

Aman Mittal, head of media relations at LPU, said they had a separate division to handle the problems of international students. “Around 2 per cent of our students are from Africa. There is a lot of harmony among students. The attack on Yannick was not a racial one. We could not do anything as he stayed outside the campus,” he told Frontline. It is estimated that 400 to 500 African students of LPU are from countries such as Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan and Rwanda.

Most of the African students prefer to stay in Jalandhar city, which is about 30 kilometres from the campus. As a result, a few colonies in the city have become small ghettoes for international students. The landlords are a happy lot as the surge has pushed up rents.

“It is not out of choice that we travel 30 km to the campus every day. It is a matter of compulsion. Despite repeated requests, the college hostels do not provide African or any kind of international food. We find Indian food very spicy. We rent apartments in the city so that we can cook our own food,” Achube, another friend of Yannick, told Frontline.

Dashmesh Nagar is one of the colonies where African students stay. Its residents almost approve of the attack on Yannick. “They [the Africans] party a lot. They drink, and live with women. They have vitiated the environment of the colony. Somebody had to beat them up,” a resident said. Incidentally, he, too, has given his flat on rent to African students.

Achube said that the residents of Dashmesh Nagar do not mingle with the African students and generally look down upon them. Consequently, the students are forced to move only with fellow African students.

In 2010, another African student was beaten up in Jalandhar, but the attack was not as brutal as the one on Yannick.

A father’s agony

In the Patiala hospital, Yannick’s father, who is an economist, is repenting having sent his son to India for higher education. “I first heard of LPU on Burundi Radio and thought it was a good university. LPU claimed that it had an international reputation and environment,” Nestor Ntibateganya said. He has left everything behind to look after his son but has little hope now that he will recover. He said Yannick was too docile a person and would not have picked a fight with anyone.

Yannick, who will turn 24 on August 14, has remained in a comatose condition since the attack. Even if he opens his eyes, doctors attending to him say that there are chances that 90 per cent of his brain has suffered acute damage and he may remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.

The political scientist Randheer Singh feels that unequal development as a result of the capitalistic Green Revolution has created new forms of oppression in Punjab. He writes: “It is well to remember that the Green Revolution, as an integral part of Indian capitalist development, has meant not only ‘economic growth’ but also sharpened economic disparities, class divisions and social tensions. And in its progress, it turned Punjab into a ‘chicken-and-whisky land’, giving rise to an extraordinary corruption and vulgarity of life and culture in the State.”

The attack on Yannick Nihangaza points to a situation where money received from expatriate Punjabis has given the local populace the authority to exert feudal power over its immigrant population.

The names of Yannick’s friends have been changed.


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Accused in Attack on Burundi Student Extradited from Australia


Accused in attack on Burundi student extradited from Australia

TNN | Sep 17, 2014, 02.27 AM IST


JALANDHAR: Jaskaran Singh Jassa, an accused in the attempt to murder case of Burundi student Yannick Nihangaza and declared a proclaimed offender after he fled to Australia, was brought to India on Monday after he was extradited by that country.

A police team, led by Jalandhar additional deputy commissioner of police Baljit Singh Dhillon, brought Jassa from Australia on Monday night and produced him in a local court here on Tuesday. The court sent Jassa in police custody for two days.

Jassa had fled to Australia a few days after the April 21, 2012 attack on Yannick, who died in a Burundi hospital on July 1, 2014 after lying in a comatose condition for over two years. Jassa was later declared a PO by the court along with another accused Rantaj Singh. Seven out of nine accused in the case were sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment by the trial court on October 24, 2013. An appeal by the convicts is pending in the court.

Jassa had applied for permanent residency in Australia after marrying an Australian citizen. However, Australian authorities were informed by the Interpol about India seeking his extradition.

Yannick, the young man from Burundi, had come to Punjab to study and was brutally beaten up by local youths in 2012. A student of computer engineering at Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Yannick was the victim of mindless violence, which many felt also had racial overtones. He was attacked in the Defence Colony area of Jalandhar by nine local youths, all in their mid 20s and from well-off families.
The local youths had an altercation with some African students outside a liquor shop near the bus stand. The latter, though, dodged them and went to a party, where the locals spotted Yannick and thrashed him up despite him having nothing to do with the other group of African students.
The brutal assault had left him with severe head injuries and in coma from which he never recovered. He was lying in a Patiala hospital since then, his father staying by his bedside for the entire duration. Yannick was airlifted to Burundi on June 16 in an air ambulance after his father requested the state government for help.
DCP Naveen Singla said Jassa was arrested on charges of attempt to murder as the police were yet to receive any official information about Yannick’s death from Burundi. “We can add murder charges only after receiving legal documents,” he said.

 http://www.yespunjab.com/punjab/news/item/52970-yannick-murder-case-accused-jaskaran-singh-jassa-brought-back-from-australia

Cops to Leave for Australia to Bring Back Accused


Cops to leave for Australia to bring back accused

Jatinder Kohli | Hindustan Times | Updated: Sep 09, 2014 09:42 IST


Finally after a month, a team of three officials of commissionerate police is set to leave for Australia to bring Jaskaran Singh Kalsi alias Jassa, a proclaimed offender in the Yannick murder case, on Tuesday morning.

Jassa is one of the accused and a proclaimed offender in the murderous attack that left Burundi student Yannick Nihangaza comatose for two years before his death.

A communiqué from the ministry of external affairs reached the commissionerate police in the first week of August this year asking them to send a team of three police officials to Australia to bring Jassa under the Extradition Act.

Jassa, who had flown to Australia on a student visa after the incident, was arrested in New South Wales, Australia, in May this year.

According to details, additional deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Baljit Singh Dhillon, sub inspectors Manmohan Singh and Balwinder Singh will go to Delhi on Tuesday morning and take a flight to Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales.

The team, which is already in contact with New South Wales police through central security agencies, will meet officials at the airport and handover the extradition documents to them.
The team is expected to come back this week with Jassa who will face trail in the case.

Confirming the development, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Naveen Singla said a team led by Dhillon along with the sub inspectors would be sent to Australia.Singla said formalities of passport and visas for the team members had been completed and Jassa would be brought to the city this week.

HT has access to documents proving that Australian officer Andrews Aaron Charles had arrested Jassa and an Australian court had denied him bail. He was arrested in May on the request of the Indian government in the Yannick assault case.

On March 18, an Australian capital territory magistrate had issued arrest warrants against Jassa on behalf of India.

However, the police are yet to arrest another proclaimed offender, Rantaj Singh; a resident of Garden colony since incident occurred.

The special investigation team (SIT) formed in the case on July 7 to investigate how one of the main accused, Romy Uppal, fled India is still clueless about his location.SIT has also quizzed Punjabi singer Garry Sandhu, Uppal’s friend, for allegedly helping the convict flee the country after jumping parole.


 

Yannick Case: 9 Now Face Murder Charge


Yannick case: 9 now face murder charge

Punjab » Crime | Nikhil Bhardwaj | Tribune News Service | Jalandhar, March 28
Posted at: Mar 29, 2016, 12:58 AM; last updated: Mar 29, 2016, 12:58 AM (IST)


The nine youth accused of a murderous attack on Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza here in 2012 now face the murder charge following receipt of a  medical report and death certificate by the Jalandhar Commissioner’s office from the African nation’s embassy.Taking cognisance of the medical report, the Jalandhar Commissionerate has converted the attempt to murder case into a murder case. This empowers the police to file a fresh chargesheet, clearing the way for a murder trial.

Yannick, a Bachelors in Computer Science student at Lovely Professional University, was on his way to a party when he was attacked by nine students in Defence Colony here on April 22, 2012. He remained comatose for two years, before being airlifted to Burundi from Patiala on June 16, 2014. He passed away a fortnight later.ADCP AS Power confirmed that the murder trial would start soon. Yannick’s father Nestor Ntibategany said his son was innocent and had done “nothing bad in India. My dear Yannick died because of racism. I will never be the same person. I know that India is a big democracy. I want that justice be done”.

Seven of the nine assailants were sentenced to 10-year imprisonment on October 24, 2013, including Sumant Ralhan, Sahildeep, Romy Uppal, Amandeep Singh, Amarbir Singh Bajwa, Harsh Gosain and Jaswant Singh.Rommy had obtained parole for 28 days on March 6, 2014, but did not return to the jail. One of the accused, Jaskaran Singh alias Jassa, who had fled to Australia after the attack, was arrested on May 7, 2014 by the Australian police and extradited on September 15, 2015. He is at present out on bail.

Rommy, son of deceased Superintendent of Police Dharam Singh Uppal, has been declared a proclaimed offender along with the son of a bus service operator, Rantaj. Both are said to have fled abroad on fake passports. Police are yet to issue a Look Out Circular for want of their passports.

Two accused still absconding

  • Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Lovely Professional University in Phagwara
  • He was on his way to a party when he was attacked by a group of nine students in Defence Colony area in Jalandhar on April 22, 2012
  • Yannick remained in comatose condition for two years after the murderous attack
  • He was airlifted to Burundi in an air ambulance from Patiala Aviation Club on June 16, 2014, to his home in Burundi where he died on July 1 the same year
  • Seven of the nine attackers were sentenced to 10-year imprisonment on October 24, 2013. The remaining two accused are at large

 

Seven in Punjab get 10 Years Jail for Assaulting African


Seven in Punjab get 10 years jail for assaulting African

India TV News Desk [Published on: Oct 25, 2013, 10:43 AM]


Indiatv News

Jalandhar:  A court in Punjab on Thursday gave 10 years imprisonment to seven persons convicted of assaulting an African Yannick Nihangaza, 25, in Jalandhar in May 2012 during a party.
All the seven were booked under  charge of attempt to murder. Also, they were fined Rs 20,000 each.

“Court had ruled in accordance to 307 and 120 sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and had jailed the convicts for 10 years and imposed a penalty of rupees 20,000 ($325.40) on each of them”, said a defence counsel.


 

Justice Delayed for Punjab Beating Victim


Justice delayed for Punjab beating victim

By Saqib I Ahmed | July 9, 2012 | Reuters | India Insight|


Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza was brutally beaten in April by allegedly drunk youngsters, and left for dead in Jalandhar, a city in Punjab. Nearly three months later, the 23-year-old Nihangaza lies in a vegetative state at a hospital.

His father has asked the Punjab government to allow him to bring his son back to Burundi. He also wants the state to prosecute the suspects and pay for his son’s medical expenses.

Until today, he has had to beg. Local media reports say Nihangaza’s father has written to Punjab’s chief minister and expressed his disappointment at the government having done little to set things right.

After the Burundi youth’s story received some attention in the local media, the state government on Friday said it will help the family and has instructed the police to probe the incident. It is unknown why it took the government nearly three months to ask for help.

This is in contrast to Australia, where about two years ago, Indian student Shravan Kumar was a victim of what appeared to be a racially motivated attack. Australia granted him permanent residency status, entitling him to various benefits as a result.

In a separate case where an Australian teenager fatally stabbed Nitin Garg, an Indian student, the Victoria state’s Supreme Court sentenced the teenager to 13 years in jail.

When Anuj Bidve was murdered in the United Kingdom and his family complained about delays in the processing of the case, the police sent two senior officers all the way to India to brief the relatives.

Until last week, Punjab did not take much action to address Nihangaza’s case, and the public has paid little attention. It was only on Sunday that the son of a senior police officer was taken into police custody. It is unlikely that the reaction would be so blase were this to happen to an Indian man in the United States or in Burundi.

There is no proof that this was a racially motivated attack, and it is not always possible for the police to prevent such incidents, but it is in the interest of good international relations — not to mention the spirit of compassion for one’s guests — to take an interest.

It would be all the more odd for India to ignore this case considering how touchy people become when they hear about a person being attacked for being Indian, or simply for being treated with suspicion because of skin colour or religion.

If Nihangaza’s case should come to a bitter end, it will be harder for India to claim that its honour has been besmirched the next time something like this happens on foreign shores.


 

Murder Trial Unlikely in Yannick Case


Murder trial unlikely in Yannick case

Police await medical report from Burundi authorities; two reminders sent

Posted at: Feb 10, 2015, 12:52 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2015, 12:48 AM (IST)
Nikhil Bhardwaj | Tribune News Service | Jalandhar, February 9


Even seven months after the death of Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza in Burundi, legal impediments continue to prevent the police here from starting murder trial in the case. Until the Jalandhar Commissionerate receives the post-mortem and the medical reports from Burundi, the police cannot go ahead with filing a supplementary challan to try the accused under Section 302 of the IPC.The Jalandhar police have sent two reminders to the Burundi embassy to seek Yannick’s medical report, but they have received no reply so far.ADCP (II) Harpreet Singh Mander confirmed the police wrote to the Burundi embassy seeking Yannick’s post-mortem report and death certificate, but the embassy has not sent any document. Recently, a reminder was also sent in that regard, but no reply has been received yet. Efforts were on to arrest accused Rommy and Rantaj, he added.“The trial under Section 302 of the IPC will become possible only after the medical report about Yannick’s death from Burundi confirms that he died due to the injuries inflicted on him by nine youth. Investigation will also be conducted under Section 300(3) of the CrPc. Yannick’s father will also be required to join the trial for taking the case to a logical conclusion,” says a legal expert.Yannick, who remained comatose for two years after the murderous attack on him in Jalandhar on April 22, 2012, died at his home in Burundi on July 1 last year. He was airlifted to Burundi from the Patiala Aviation Club on June 16. He was pursuing an undergraduate course in computer science at Lovely Professional University. He was on his way to a party when he was attacked by a group of nine students in the Defence Colony area. Seven of the nine attackers have been sentenced to 10-year imprisonment, including Sumant Ralhan, Sahildeep, Rommy Uppal, Amandeep Singh, Amarbir Singh Bajwa, Harsh Gosain and Jaswant Singh. Rommy, who was among the seven accused convicted for attempt to murder, obtained 28-day parole on March 6 last year. He was supposed to return to the jail on April 4, but he didn’t.The police couldn’t issue Look Out Circular (LOC) against Rommy till date because it failed to recover his passport which was mandatory to issue the circular.One of the accused Jaskaran Singh (alias Jassa), who fled to Australia after the attack, was arrested on May 7, 2014, by the Australian police under Section 12 (1) of the Extradition Act, 1988. The Jalandhar police team went to Australia and extradited Jaskaran to India on September 15 last year. A supplementary challan to try Jassa under Section 307 of the IPC was also recently filed by the police.Now, Rommy Uppal (son of deceased Superintendent of Police Dharam Singh Uppal) and Rantaj (son of a bus service operator) are on the run.

Legal view

  • The trial under Section 302 of the IPC will become possible only after the medical report of Yannick’s death from Burundi confirms that he died due to the injuries inflicted on him by nine youth. Investigation will also be conducted under Section 300(3) of the CrPc. Yannick’s father will also be required to join the trial for taking the case to a logical conclusion.

 

Punjab Govt Dithers on Paying Rs.58 Lakh Medical Bill of Burundi Youth Yannick


Punjab Govt dithers on paying Rs 58 lakh medical bill of Burundi youth Yannick

Posted at: Jul 12, 2015, 6:11 PM; last updated: Jul 12, 2015, 6:11 PM (IST)
Gagan K Teja | Tribune News Service | Patiala, July 11


Over a year after comatose Yannick Nihangaza was airlifted from Patiala’s Columbia Asia Hospital to his home nation Burundi, where he breathed his last later, the Punjab government is yet to pay medical bills amounting to Rs58 lakh to the hospital.Yannick (23), student of a private university near Jalandhar, had slipped into coma after being attacked by nine youths on April 22, 2012.Nestor Ntibateganya, Yannick’s father, had written to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 20, 2012, following which his son was shifted from a Jalandhar hospital to the private institute in Patiala.The Badal government had then said it would bear the entire treatment cost of Yannick, who remained on life support (ventilator) for more than two years at Columbia hospital. The total bill was around Rs1.37 crore, of which a major portion was contributed by a US charity while a certain amount was waived off by the hospital. The government was to pay around Rs63 lakh, of which it has so far cleared only Rs5 lakh.Though hospital officials refused to comment on the matter, sources said the issue had been unsuccessfully raised several times with the district administration. Once the bills were lost and the hospital had to resubmit the documents, which ran into hundreds of pages with detailed description of the treatment, sources said. Patiala SDM Gurpal Singh Chahal said the bills had been forwarded to the authorities concerned.

2015_7largeimg12_jul_2015_005339810

Yannick under treatment at Patiala before being shifted to Burundi. File photo


 

Yannick Murder: Police Arrest Accused in Oz


Yannick murder: Police arrest accused in Oz

Updated: Sep 16, 2014 08:42 IST
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times


A team of Jalandhar commissionerate police left for India from Sydney after taking custody of Jaskaran Singh Kalsi alias Jassa, an accused in the Yannick murder case, on Monday morning.

The team led by additional deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Baljit Singh Dhillon is expected to land in New Delhi late Monday night.

Jassa is one of the accused and a proclaimed offender in the murderous attack that left Burundi student Yannick Nihangaza comatose for two years before his death.

Jassa, who had flown to Australia on a student visa after the incident, was arrested in New South Wales, Australia, in May this year.

According to details, ADCP Dhillon, sub inspectors Manmohan Singh and Balwinder Singh had gone to Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales, on September 9.

Confirming the development, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Naveen Singla said a team led by Dhillon along with the sub inspectors would reach New Delhi late Monday night from Australia.

However, the police are yet to arrest another proclaimed offender, Rantaj Singh; a resident of Garden colony, since the incident occurred.

The special investigation team (SIT) formed in the case on July 7 to investigate how one of the main accused, Romy Uppal, fled India is still clueless about his location.

SIT had also quizzed Punjabi singer Garry Sandhu, Uppal’s friend, for allegedly helping the convict flee the country after jumping parole.


 

Burundi Student Yannick Nihangaza, Who Was Brutally Attacked in Punjab, to be Sent Home


Burundi Student Yannick Nihangaza, Who Was Brutally Attacked in Punjab, to be Sent Home

Reported by Anand Kumar Patel, Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: June 02, 2014 21:28 IST


 

Burundi Student Yannick Nihangaza, Who Was Brutally Attacked in Punjab, to be Sent Home
File photo of Yannick Nihangaza

CHANDIGARH:  Yannick Nihangaza, the Burundi student who is lying comatose for more than two years in a Patiala nursing home after a brutal attack, can finally go home.

The Punjab government has agreed to bear the cost of Rs. 75 lakh to arrange for an air ambulance which will carry Yannick back to his home in Africa.

“The government has transferred the money to Patiala administration. The date is not final yet, but Yannick will be sent to his home country in the next few days as per advice of doctors. We are making all possible arrangements as per the instructions of the government of Punjab,” said Varun Roojam, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala.

Punjab government’s help after Yannick’s father wrote to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and he intervened.  “It’s a risk but we are left with no other option… there is no improvement in his condition in last two years. At least he will be home… the government is providing us air ambulance to transport my son,” said Yannick’s father Nestor Ntibateganya.

Yannick’s departure, however, may get delayed as the Punjab government has so far released only Rs. 5 lakh towards his medical expenses while his medical bill now stands at a whopping Rs. 1.40 crore. The family is pinning its hope on Mr Badal who took personal interest to see Yannick got due compensation.

Yannick had arrived in India with the dream of becoming a computer engineer and enrolled at a private university in Jalandhar. He was going to a party on April 22, 2012 when he was attacked.

While the attackers had managed to flee, Yannick was admitted to a private hospital in Patiala where he remains on life support.

Out of the nine people who attacked Yannick, seven have been arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail. The remaining two reportedly fled to Australia.


 

Two Years After Jalandhar Attack, Burundi Youth Dies


Two years after Jalandhar attack, Burundi youth dies

| TNN | Jul 4, 2014, 09.54 PM IST


 

PATIALA/JALANDHAR: Yannick Nihangaza, the young man from Burundi, who had come to Punjab to study and was brutally beaten up by local youths in 2012, died died at his home on Tuesday.
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TOI received a cryptic one-line email from Yannick’s father Nestor Ntibateganya on Thursday, but it should be enough to shake Punjab’s conscience. “Yannick passed away in the night of 1st July 2014,” Ntibateganya confirmed from Burundi.

Yannick, who was the student of computer engineering at Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, was the victim of mindless violence, which many felt also had racial overtones. He was attacked in the Defence Colony area of Jalandhar on the night of April 21, 2012 by nine local youths, all in their mid-20s and from well-off families.

The local youths had had an altercation with some African students outside a liquor shop near the bus stand who dodged them and went to a party. However the locals spotted Yannick and badly thrashed him up despite him having nothing to do with the other group of African students.


Yannick Nihangaza while being taken to the air ambulance to airlift him to Burundi.

The brutal attack had left him with severe head injuries and in coma from which he never recovered. He was lying in a Patiala hospital since then, his father staying by his bedside for the entire duration. Yannick was airlifted to Burundi only two weeks ago after his father requested the state government for help.

Slow cop action raised eyebrows
Yannick Nihangaza’s case was a major embarrassment for the Punjab government as the police had not arrested the assailants for more than two months despite the brutality of the attack. Only after reports in the media did the officials gear up and five assailants were arrested within a week. In all, seven people were arrested while two are absconding. Many believe slow police action allowed the accused to slip away.

On October 24, 2013 seven of the accused were convicted and sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by a Jalandhar court for attempt to murder. Two more accused did not stand trial as they were declared proclaimed offenders.

One accused, Romi Uppal, son of Punjab Police SP Dharam Singh Uppal who passed away during the trial, was also handed an additional one year imprisonment separately under section 482 of IPC as he had used a wrong number plate on his car during the attack.

Another accused, Jaskaran Singh Jassa, managed to reach Australia on a study which he had got just a couple of days before the brutal attack. Police then started the process of his extradition, which is still on. Among others, Ramtaj Singh, from an affluent and political family, who completed a flying course from Australia, has also remained underground.


 

Govt to Bear Cost of Sending Yannick Back


Govt to bear cost of sending Yannick back

HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Updated: Nov 17, 2012 11:16 IST


The Punjab government will bear all expenses for transporting African student, Yannick Nihangaza (23), to Burundi. Yannick, a BSc (computer sciences) student at Lovely Professional University (LPU), has been in coma at a private hospital in Patiala, after three unidentified persons thrashed him outside his rented accommodation in Dashmesh Nagar on April 21 this year.

Principal secretary home affairs and justice DS Bains announced the decision at a press conference in the city on Friday. “Yannick’s father wants to shift his son to Burundi. The chief minister has decided that the government will meet all expenses for his transportation.”

He added that Yannick will be taken to New Delhi in an air-ambulance and will then be put on a commercial flight to Burundi. The date of departure has been left to the discretion of doctors.

The government will also supply life-support medical equipment, including a ventilator to Yannick. There are also plans to send a nursing team to Burundi to train nurses.

Bains added that he had attended a function at the LPU on Friday and the vice-chancellor Ashok Mittal had handed him a cheque of Rs 6 lakh for Yannick.

“I appeal to students as well as people in general to extend help,” Bains added.

He justified the suspension of SP Dharam Singh Uppal, father of one of the accused Romi Uppal, in the case. He stated that an inquiry had revealed that Uppal was using his official position to influence witnesses. He added that the Australian High Commission had been approached to extradite one of the accused who had escaped to Australia.