Tweed girl fighting for life

MEMBERS of the strong Hare Krishna community in Murwillumbah were yesterday stunned by the horrific rape and shooting of fellow follower, 17-year-old Lila Salter, in India by a man who had stalked her for years. Devotees, some who had been holding a special Festival of Devotion in Murwillumbah’s showgrounds, prayed for Lila, formally named Anandalila, as she lay in an Indian hospital with a bullet in her head. Lila, who was born in Murwillumbah but has spent much of her life living with family in India, had reportedly known her%attacker, Saurav Singh, for some years. Singh was yesterday described as having psychological problems. Her Gold Coast mother Susan Manning, who with other members of the family run a Hare Krishna Govinda’s restaurant and a clothing import business, also yesterday appealed for all Australians, regardless of their religious beliefs, to pray for Lila. Ms Manning regularly attends the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Hare Krishna Temple at Eungella. Lila was reported to have been shot three times by a man who had hours earlier raped her at gunpoint. In a sadly ironic twist, Lila had written on her MySpace website that she wanted to meet “nice people with some culture”, “funny people and just people that aren’t mad!” A spokesperson for the Hare Krishna community in Murwillumbah, Ajita Prabhu said members had been praying for Lila. The horrific assault further dampened a special Hare Krishna Festival of Devotion held by one group in the Murwillumbah showgrounds since Friday where they had to pull up tents after the area was inundated by torrential rain. Ajita, however, said local devotees knew only what they had heard on the news about Lila. Yesterday a spokesman at%Govinda’s Veg-O-Rama at Surfers Paradise said all family members had gone to India, and remaining staff were shocked. Mrs Manning told Indian police Singh had arrived at the flat Lila shared with her older brothers in the small holy town of Vrindavan and begged to be allowed to see her to apologise for the previous night’s incident. Instead he shot her three times before fatally turning the gun on himself. A Krishna devotee, Lila remained on life support yesterday as her family, including her%mother and four of her siblings, maintained a vigil at her hospital bedside. In a statement late yesterday, Hare Krishna regional secretary Tirtharaj Dasa said the family was deciding whether to switch off Lila’s life support. Mrs Manning said doctors had warned her she was likely to be brain dead, so severe are her gunshot wounds. "Only a miracle will give us a different verdict now, only an absolute miracle," she said, begging Australians to please pray for her daughter as her condition was "so very dire".



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