For months, members of the Indian and Muslim communities in Sydney tried to help a homeless Fijian Indian woman, Monika Chetty, who was found severely burnt on Friday night in Hoxton Park and is in an induced coma.
In an email obtained by Fairfax Media, a member of the Fijian Indian community wrote to leaders in May asking for help for Ms Chetty, seen begging for money and already severely burnt outside the Carnes Hill shopping centre.
''Monika [said she] is recovering from burns sustained from opening the radiator cap on her Ford Laser car, which she sleeps in,'' Jameel Ahmed, of Hoxton Park, told the Indian Australian Association of NSW president, Dr Yadu Singh, and the Muslim community representative Amjad Mehboob. ''[She is] the first Fijian Indian I have met in Australia in such a pitiful situation!''
But Mr Ahmed said the burns appeared to be ''far more aggressive than what you could receive from a radiator cap''.
Police said they found Ms Chetty in a West Hoxton park on Friday night with burns so serious she could not be identified.
Dr Singh said the situation saddened him. ''I don't think I can do everything, but maybe I should have been more proactive.''
He would be surprised if the burns were due to an acid attack, a form of assault on the rise in India which aims to disfigure the victims, often because they have spurned sexual advances by men.
''The acid attack is very unusual in Australia,'' he said. ''If it is an acid attack, this is not acceptable.''
Mr Ahmed said Ms Chetty had become homeless after she could no longer pay her rent. It is understood she stayed with members of the Indian community or lived in her car.
''All other distant families and friends have distanced themselves from her, leaving her to fend for herself in this cruel world,'' Mr Ahmed said.
She is believed to be in a critical condition in Concord Hospital. Her estranged husband is not considered a suspect, police said.
Anyone with information should call 1800 333 000.