Indian taxi driver assaulted in Australia


The 48-year-old passenger was arrested after he attacked the cabbie last night, an AAP report said adding that the Indian taxi driver did not receive any major injuries.

After he was verbally abused by the passenger, the cabbie sought refuge at a Ballarat service station at about 2.15 am (local time) but the passenger followed him into the service station and allegedly assaulted him, a police spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

The taxi was also damaged in the incident, she said.

A man from Navigators, near Ballarat, was arrested at the scene and remains in police custody, the AAP report said. He is expected to be interviewed by police later today.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive report in 'The Age', Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has pointed out two main areas of concern.

He said first, Australia has a crime problem in the suburbs that it must attend to, and second, India was within its rights to speak out when its citizens face danger.

"The whole racism issue has really coloured this debate in an unhealthy way, because when our media either seizes on that, or the Australian media in turn respond critically, we are essentially dealing with not black or brown or white, but red herrings," he said.

"We value our relationship with Australia, it's a friendly country... The truth is this is a problem of law and order, one that Australia is dealing with and needs to deal with internally.

But it cannot but affect us when our citizens are reported to be suffering."

Tharoor acknowledged the impact that India's "agitated media" had on the nation's public by its constant reporting of Australian racism.

"Without wanting to exaggerate in any way the extent of this violence, it does worry us how this has become almost a dominant perception of Australia in the minds of so many Indians," he said.

Tharoor was further quoted as saying "For an Indian mother to hear that her son has been assaulted in Australia, it little matters to her whether he was assaulted because of his race, or because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because he was the wrong colour or the wrong height, or was carrying an iPod. She doesn't want her son to be assaulted."

"It's a very common human feeling and that's essentially what this is all about."

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