India-born doctor beaten by gang in Melbourne starts recovery

September 30th, 2008 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 30 (IANS) Prominent India-born doctor Mukesh Haikerwal, who was savagely beaten with a baseball bat and kicked by a gang in an alleged armed robbery attack Saturday night, is expected to make a full recovery.Haikerwal, the former head of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), was allegedly attacked by a gang of six people - in their late teens to early 20s - who went on a one-hour rampage in Melbourne’s Williamstown suburb, attacking four other people in a 5 km radius.

The 47-year-old doctor was hit on the head with the baseball bat and then repeatedly kicked as he lay on the ground near his home at the Dennis Reserve.

“It’s callous, cowardly (and) it’s a disgusting act and how anybody can go around beating somebody with a baseball bat - I don’t understand that. Police will get the people concerned. I wish Mukesh and his family a speedy recovery,” State of Victoria’s Premier John Brumby, who personally knows Haikerwal, told reporters Tuesday.

Haikerwal emerged from an induced coma Monday after undergoing emergency surgery to remove life-threatening blood clotting around his brain at the Western General Hospital.

Relieved that Haikerwal is expected to make a full recovery, his brother Deepak Haikerwal, told reporters: “Karyn, his wife, their sons, our mother and our family are quite upset, as you might imagine. Nothing can really prepare you to get the call that your brother, your husband, your father, your son, has been assaulted.”

“He is lucid and he can move all his limbs. We are grateful for all the support we’ve received from everyone. It’s humbling to be reminded of the respect for Mukesh by so many in the community,” Deepak told reporters.

A champion of public health, the 47-year-old doctor is a member of the Australian Government’s National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission and Chair of the World Medical Association Finance and Planning Committee.

His shocked wife, Karyn, and their sons, Suresh, Ajaya and Jeevan, have been at his bedside as the police seek public help to identify the attackers.

“There were five significant incidents in public places, we are sure there are people out there with information that could assist our investigation and urge them to come forward,” Detective Senior Sergeant Kieran Moloney told reporters.

Haikerwal was born in Lucknow, but grew up in Britain. In 1990, he moved to Australia and set up a medical practice in Melbourne’s western suburbs, where he still works.

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