Assaulted Kerala man in Melbourne stable but unable to speak

October 14th, 2008 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 14 (IANS) An Indian from Kerala, who sustained life-threatening injuries in an attack by a group of four on his way home from work in Melbourne, was Tuesday in a serious but stable condition after a surgery. However, he is still unable to speak and give the police an account of what happened. Biju K. Joseph, 40, who is from Alappuzha district in Kerala, was attacked Sunday night between Albion Street Railway Station and home in suburban Melbourne. He sustained serious head injuries.

“We don’t know what weapon was used for the assault as he is still unable to talk. He has been my friend for the past year and I have been here at the hospital since Sunday night,” Biju’s friend, Anish Hariharan Nair Vijayanna, who also hails from Alappuzha district, told IANS.

Melbourne, which attracts a large population of overseas Indian students and skilled migrants, has in recent months seen a spate of attacks at train stations, bus stops and suburban streets.

A spokesperson from Victoria Police told IANS, “The man (Biju) sustained severe injuries to his head, which were said to be life-threatening, but since undergoing surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, his condition is described to be serious but stable. The police are further investigating the incident.”

Besides his friends, the Indian consulate and the larger Malayalee community have been offering all possible help to Biju and his wife, Suma, who is a student enrolled in a course in community welfare programme.

“We have visited the victim in hospital. He is in the high dependency unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and is said to stable,” a spokesperson for the Indian Consulate in Melbourne told IANS.

Biju is in Australia on a spouse dependent visa and was working part-time. New Indian migrants and students are soft targets as they largely use public transport and walk home after late night shift work as security guards and taxi drivers, at departmental stores, petrol stations and fast food restaurants.

Many of the robberies and assaults are said to be by drug addicts for petty cash.

Only two weeks ago, prominent India-born doctor Mukesh Haikerwal, 47, was savagely beaten with a baseball bat and repeatedly kicked by a gang of six people near his home at the Dennis Reserve in an alleged armed robbery attack.

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