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Australian charged in attack on Indian restaurateur

June 19, 2013 18:49 IST

A 19-year-old Australian on Wednesday surrendered to the police over the racially-motivated bashing of an Indian restaurant owner in Melbourne.

Himanshu Goyal, 22, was beaten up and verbally abused while closing his Bridge Mall eatery on June 7 when eight teenagers shouted racial abuse at him while another in the group punched him on his face.

The attacker, who has not been identified, was charged with recklessly causing serious injury, assault and swearing in a public place. He was bailed to appear in Ballarat magistrates court on July 29, The Courier reported.

Goyal suffered multiple fractures to his jaw after being punched. Eight men, believed to be in their late teens, shouted abuse at Goyal and one member of the group punched him in the mouth.

Almost a fortnight on, Goyal is not doing well. He still cannot open his mouth properly and has trouble talking and can not eat solids. "I've been depressed for the last 10 days," he said. "I can't talk to my mother in India because whenever she sees me on Skype she bursts into tears.

"It breaks my heart, I'm her only child. "My Dad has to keep reassuring her that everything will be alright," Goyal said. He said it was challenging to return to his restaurant and Bridge Mall. "I can't stand in my own shop without getting scared," Goyal said. The incident drew a strong support for the Indian restaurateur as Ballart mayor John Burt condemned the attack and expressed "sincere apology".

"Racially-motivated incidents over the last few weeks across Australia and the world show that ignorance is not limited to Ballarat and in fact the vast majority of people have respect for all," Burt had said.

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne