Attacks on Indians in Australia continued unabated with yet another taxi driver being punched by his passengers, an assault described as “opportunistic” and “not racially motivated” by police.
In the second such incident in as many days, the 25-year-old taxi driver suffered bruises on his body and swelling on the face after he was roughed up by his four male passengers in the Victorian city of Ballarat, 110- kms west of here just before midnight last-night, police said.
The Ballart police constables dismissal of the attack as not racial came even as a top Victorian police official made a candid admission that there were “racists in Melbourne.”
In the latest assault, police in a statement said, “the four became abusive towards the Indian driver while he was driving and started assaulting him with one-of-the passengers in the rear seat even spitting on him.”
The passengers attempted to force the vehicle to stop by pulling the hand-break and tried to force the drivers hand from the steering wheel, police added.
As the car pulled over, two of the four passengers tried to flee with the Indian driver giving them a chase.
However, the third passenger punched him to the ground.
Police believed that the group were aged between 16 and 18 and claimed to have a fair idea who the offenders were, saying “we believe they are known to us,” but denied it was a racial attack.
It was a second time in as many days that an Indian cab driver was targeted in the same town. Another 24-year-old Indian taxi-driver Satheesh Thatipamula was abused and assaulted by a passenger and his vehicle damaged in an assault on Thursday.
Paul John Brogden, 48-year-old local man was arrested, jailed for three months and fined 1500 Australian dollars by a judge, hours after he pleaded guilty of holding out a threat to kill the driver.
Repeated assaults on the Indians have inflamed diplomatic tensions between India and Australia.