Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another South Asian assaulted at train station

Last weekend a man was robbed and brutally assaulted with a bottle while waiting for an early morning train at Berwick in Melbourne's south-east. The unprovoked attack was captured on CCTV footage, below:

I'm not saying that this incident fits within the abhorrent trend of "curry-bashing" that has afflicted Melbourne recently, but its interesting that the victim, a 34-year-old engineer who identified himself only as Francis, is a recent immigrant from Sri Lanka.

As reported here, Francis nearly lost an eye in the attack, and has been so traumatised that he has moved house and can no longer bring himself to use public transport.

18-year-old Conrad Puala of Dandenong has appeared in court charged with the assault and robbery.

This is the same weekend that 3 Indian men were bashed by a mob on the other side of the city, in an attack that from all reports was clearly racist in nature. And also when an unidentified man was beaten to a coma in nearby Hallam - I dunno, but judging from his picture he looks a bit desi to me. Just saying.

I doubt that there is any racial motivation for the attack on Francis, but it is worth pondering. When many claimed that the attacks on South Asians in Melbourne were merely opportunistic in nature, is this the sort of thing they meant? Given that the footage shows at least one other commuter at the station, a white man, did race have anything to do with who was being targeted? Would a white victim have been attacked with the same savagery?

Again, I don't really see a racial element in this. But when South Asian people are so disproportionally represented in these "opportunistic" assaults, you have to wonder about the pattern that emerges.

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