Two Indian nationals are attacked overnight in separate incidents in Brisbane, Australia.
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (JANUARY 22, 2010) NETWORK TEN - Two Indian nationals were attacked late Thursday (January 21) and early Friday (January 22) in two separate incidents in Brisbane, Australia.
An Indian taxi driver was attacked around midnight on Thursday in Brisbane by two attackers, who refused to pay the fare and punched the driver several times in the head, Australian TV Network Ten reported on Friday (January 22).
Sandeep Goyal was punched by two men who then smashed Goyal's taxi windscreen leaving his eye injured, and temporarily out of sight.
The two attackers, Josh Gill and Brett Gill, are charged with assault and appeared in court on Friday (January 22).
The Acting Police Commissioner Karen Rynders held a news conference on Friday and assured reporters that these incidents could happen to anyone and could not be attributed to racial violence.
"It could be the type of incident that could happen in any street in Brisbane to any person that happens to be out in a public place," said Rynders
The Queensland Taxi Council stated that there had been an increased number of attacks on drivers from foreign countries.
"We are also starting to see physical assaults on people simply because they are born overseas," said a spokesperson from the Queensland Taxi Council.
In a separate unrelated incident, a 25-year-old Indian youth was also attacked in Brisbane around 2:40 a.m. on Friday while using a phone near his house.
The youth was attacked by a person being described as tall and of Pacific Islander background, who also stole the youth's wallet after punching him.
Following the incident, the Australian government reiterated that there was no indication that the attacks were racially motivated and assured Indian nationals that Australia is a safe place.
The attacks over the past 18 months, including the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old Indian graduate this month, have strained ties with India and hurt Australia's lucrative foreign student market, its third largest export earner, worth 13 billion Australian dollars (12 billion U.S. dollars) in 2007-08.
India's foreign minister said on Wednesday (January 20) that attacks on Indian students in Australia needed to stop immediately, while Australia's former military chief said the attacks had a strong racial element.