Melbourne, March 30: Police in Tasmania today said that they had started investigation into the incident of assault on 33-year-old Indian immigrant in Hobart.

They are yet to determine whether the attack was racially-motivated.

Li Max Joy, a nursing student and a part-time taxi driver, was assaulted and racially abused by five teenagers including a girl, at a McDonald’s store in North Hobart on Sunday.

Joy alleged that the group hurled racial abuses like “You bloody black Indians”. He was then later attacked in the car park.

Joy was admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital and treated for bleeding wounds, following which a CAT scan and an X-Ray were carried out to check for internal injuries.

Later, Joy further alleged that the police made no serious efforts to take action against the attackers.

However, police issued a statement saying that they had spoken to several witnesses and are investigating the entire episode.

“The complainant will be kept informed of the status of the investigation as it progresses.

“Tasmania police take all assaults seriously, and whether the assault was racially-based will be a component of the investigative facts,” the statement said.

Joy is from Puthuppally in Kottayam district of Kerala and has been living in Hobart for the last eight years. He is pursuing a nursing course and works as part-time taxi driver in Tasmania.

He sought the intervention of India’s External Affairs Ministry over the attack.

“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure safety of Indians abroad,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar assured in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi.

His response came after the issue of racial attacks on Indians in Australia was raised on Monday by Congress MP K.C. Venugopal. He sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in ensuring the safety of large Indian population in Australia, given that “such attacks were on the rise in that country”.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the safety of overseas Indians was a matter of priority for the government and it will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring their safety.

The incident came a week after an Indian-origin Catholic priest was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne.

Mr. Venugopal also raised the stabbing of the Indian-origin priest in Melbourne and demanded a strong response by India to such incidents. He said these were not stray incidents.

“The racial mood is definitely changing. It is continuous now. Many other drivers have been abused but not everyone reports it to police,” Joy told local media.

Vir Rajendra

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