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'Go back', attackers tell Indian in Oz

An Indian student, who was viciously attacked and robbed in this Australian city, says the assault was racially motivated and the assailant screamed, "Go back to your own country."

india Updated: Apr 14, 2010 11:24 IST

An Indian student, who was viciously attacked and robbed in this Australian city, says the assault was racially motivated and the assailant screamed, "Go back to your own country."

Neeraj Bhardwaj, 23, was waiting for a tram near Melbourne Aquarium at 4 am on Easter Monday when two drunk men approached him, The Age reported on Wednesday.

The men, described as white and in their 20s, told Bhardwaj to hand over his wallet. Then one man punched him several times in the face and he lost consciousness.

They left only to return 15 minutes later and punched the victim again. One of the attackers shouted: "F*** off, go back to your own country."

Bhardwaj suffered a damaged left eye, broken nose and and sore ribs.

There have been a string of attacks on Indian students in Australia, triggering an outcry in India. The incidents soured the relationship between New Delhi and Canberra and led to a dip in the number of Indian students opting to study in this country.

Doctors have told Bhardwaj that his left eye had lost "80 to 90 per cent" of its capacity and might never recover.

The Indian student, who is unable to work, said that he was now afraid to leave his home and didn't know what to tell his family in India.

"I had a bright future but it has been taken away by criminals. I'm not safe in this city," he was quoted as saying.