Racial Rugby: Aussie Football Star Kicks Indian Cabbie, Brumby Says ‘Regrettable’

In yet another attack Down Under, an Australian football ace assaulted a cab driver of Indian origin in Melbourne. Victoria state premier John Brumby – currently on a seven day visit to India later termed the incident as ‘regrettable’ and promised to provide New Delhi with a progress report on investigations into the attacks on Indians.

Essendon FC player Michael Hurley, 19, was briefly held for kicking and punching an unidentified Indian cabbie outside a Melbourne fast food joint early Friday morning, reported news agencies.

‘It is regrettable. The club has indicated its regret and apologised,’ said Brumby in New Delhi.

‘Concrete action will be taken against the footballer… We will not allow this kind of attack,’ he said/

On a damage control visit to India, Brumby attempted to play down the incident saying: ‘Michael is a good kid. It’s not typical of his behaviour. He just went out and had too much to drink.’

According to media reports, Hurley punched and kicked the cabbie, who drove him from a nightclub to a Hoddle Street food outlet, when he asked the footballer to pay the fare at around 0530 hours Friday (local time).

Essendon FC later confirmed that ‘Hurley had been involved in an incident overnight’ and that he was questioned by the Fitzroy police, who have not yet charged him for the offence.
Victoria Police later said the alleged attack was over a fare dispute and Hurley was likely to be charged for assault related offences.

Some 30 Indian students have been victims of bloody racial attacks across Australia in the last quarter or so.

The attacks that triggered widespread protests in India are now threatening to punish Australia’s booming education industry with a marked decrease in Indian enrollments this academic season.

Several Australian dignitaries, visiting India, attempted to calm Indian concerns over the attacks and assured of stringent action against those responsible, but the claims were repeatedly proved hollow by the continuing violence.

While Indians have claimed racial prejudice to be the driving factor behind the attacks, Australia has repeatedly termed the attacks as ‘criminal.’

Meanwhile, Brumby met Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi and promised to provide India with details of investigations into the attacks on her citizens.

While clarifying that it was difficult to guarantee full security in a big city, Brumby said: ‘Steps would be taken to ensure the safety of the students. We have toughened our laws related to racial crimes.’

After the meetings, Brumby proposed separate transportation and safe housing for Indian students in Australia.

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