The Australian High Commission in Delhi on Monday expressed regret over an attack on an Indian national in the state of Tasmania this weekend. “We regret the attack on a taxi driver of Indian origin in Hobart which occurred over the weekend,” the high commission spokesperson said in a statement.
“We understand he suffered minor injuries and has been discharged from Royal Hobart Hospital,” the statement said.
“We place great importance on the safety and security of everyone who resides in Australia, including our Indian community.”
Li Max Joy, who hails from Kerala and works as a part-time taxi driver, was attacked by a group of five youngsters at McDonald’s restaurant in north Hobart on Saturday. They hurled racial abuses like “you bloody black Indians” at him and assaulted him, reported The Mercury newspaper.
The 33-year-old victim said that the teenagers had been arguing with the McDonald’s manager when he reached the restaurant to have coffee, but turned their anger on him when they noticed him.
“They were angry at the McDonald’s staff but turned their anger on me in the car park and then inside the store,” he said. Joy said he was punched 30 to 40 times.
“Three of those boys punched me in the face and said, ‘You bloody black Indian ****, why are you here’,” Li told Australia’s SBS television network.
According to the high commission spokesperson, 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 investigative facts,” the spokesperson said.