Indian student in coma after alleged assault in Australia

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An Indian student, pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Tasmania, remains in a medically-induced coma following an alleged assault in Australia earlier this month. The student in his 20s was rushed to the Royal Hobart Hospital soon after the attack which took place at around 4:20 a.m. on November 5 at a precinct in Tasmania, Sydney-based broadcaster, SBS reported. His right lung reportedly collapsed and he had to undergo brain surgery, a procedure lasting several hours.

Shortly after the incident, police took 25-year-old Benjamin Dodge Collings into custody, and charged him with criminal code assault — an offence carrying a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison. Collings was granted a magistrate bail and he is scheduled to return to court on December 4. Police told SBS Hindi that there is no evidence to suggest that the incident was racially motivated.

“The person charged has been set out on bail whereas the poor man is fighting for his life,” Germanjit Singh Gill, a resident, posted on a Facebook group, ‘Indians in Tasmania’. “Someone assaulted our brother for no reason, and we can’t even ask questions? We are harnessing community support to help the victim,” Gill said. The victim’s friends said that his family back in Assam do not have passports to travel to Australia. The University of Tasmania’s Media Director, Ben Wild, said they have been in regular touch with the family and have assigned a manager to the case, along with translators, liaison, accommodation and other support, SBS Hindi reported.

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“The case has gone through the court system as well and we are very limited in what we can say,” he said.