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25-year-old Indian cabbie Pardeep Singh ‘racially abused’ and assaulted in Australia

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Taxi in Canberra, (representative image) Wikimedia
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Canberra, May 22, 2017: An Indian cab driver was assaulted and beaten unconscious in the Australian state of Tasmania by two passengers who yelled racial slurs at him.

Pardeep Singh, 25, was beaten by two passengers at the Sandy Bay McDonald’s drive-through on Saturday night. Singh said he was attacked when he asked the woman passenger to step outside the cab as she was going to throw up, Mercury newspaper reported on Monday.

“Please get out of the car… If you mess up the car you have to pay a cleaning fee,” Singh told the woman.

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Singh said the passengers started abusing him and the woman told him in an expletive-filled rant that she wouldn’t pay the fare or cleaning fee.

“They punched me too many times and kicked me,” Singh said. “(They said) ‘You f…..g Indians deserve this’.”

Singh was admitted overnight to the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Police offical Ian Whish-Wilson said the two passengers were charged in relation to the assault on Singh.

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“There was a dispute over payment and it is alleged the passengers assaulted the driver and damaged the vehicle,” said the police official.

“It was alleged a racial comment was made during the assault but it does not appear that the incident was racially motivated,” he said.

The passengers – a 21-year-old Sandy Bay woman and a 25-year-old Kingston man – were charged with assault and injuring property and will appear in the Hobart Magistrates Court on June 26.

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In March, Indian cab driver Li Max Joy was assaulted by four teenagers in Tasmania and a third driver of the community was assaulted by four men in June last year.

The police official said the charges in this case were laid in relation to the March assault on Joy but no “special investigative unit” was established.

Singh, who is studying hospitality, said he will not drive taxis again “because it’s so dangerous”.

The bashing is the third attack on Indian taxi drivers in less than a year. (IANS)

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Australian government to find humane solutions for refugees in Manus Island

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FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters)
FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters). VOA

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the Australian government to find humane solutions for hundreds of refugees it has abandoned in a precarious situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

UNHCR accuses the Australian government of shirking its responsibilities to care for and protect some 800 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says the situation has become more precarious for the refugees since the government closed its so-called offshore processing facility at the end of October. Over the past four weeks, it notes, refugees who were moved to three new accommodation sites have been attacked several times. The worst case involved three people armed with machetes and an axe.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Cecile Pouilly, says local hostility and resentment against the refugees is high and growing. She told VOA the Australian authorities must resolve this critical situation.

“We are talking here about people who have suffered extreme trauma and now are feeling so insecure in these places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture. People who have been deeply traumatized have been detained, having no idea what is going to happen next to them. I think this mental issue, this psychological issue is a major one,” Pouilly said.

A recent medical report commissioned by UNHCR finds the cumulative effect of uncertainty about their future is causing a deterioration in the mental and physical health of the refugees.

It warns cessation of services, substandard living and hygiene conditions and inadequate medical care are increasing violence and self-harm among the refugees. (VOA)