The Australian police is set to investigate whether the attack on the Indian-origin taxi driver was “racially-based”, the Australian High Commission said.
“The matter is current and under investigation by Tasmania Police. Tasmania Police takes all assaults seriously. We understand that whether the assault was racially -based will be a component of the investigation facts,” an Australian High Commission spokesperson said.
The High Commission expressed regret on the incident even as External Affairs Ministry Gopal Baglay confirmed that the victim was an Australian national of Indian origin. Baglay also said that the Indian consulate general had met the victim and was in touch with authorities in Tasmania.
“We regret the attack on taxi driver of Indian origin in Hobart which occurred over the weekend. We understand he suffered minor injuries and has been discharged from Royal Hobart Hospital…We place great importance on the safety and security of everyone who resides in Australia, including our Indian community,” said the statement from the Australian High Commission.
An Indian man has alleged that he was attacked by a group of teenagers, including a girl, who hurled racial abuses at him at a restaurant in Australia’s Tasmania state, a week after a Catholic priest of Indian heritage was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne.
Li Max Joy, who is pursuing a nursing course and working as a part time taxi driver in Australia, said that he was attacked at McDonald’s restaurant at North Hobart.
Meanwhile, the matter was raised in the Lok Sabha by the Congress which sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in ensuring the safety of large Indian population there.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar assured the safety of Indians living abroad.
“It is a matter of serious concern…we are with the overseas Indians. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure safety of Indians abroad,” said Kumar.
33-year-old Joy hails from Puthuppally in Kerala’s Kottayam district.
(With inputs from PTI)