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Indian cabbie assaulted by Australian footballer

September 25, 2009 16:08 IST

In yet another attack on an Indian in Melbourne, a taxi driver from the community was injured when a drunk Australian star footballer allegedly assaulted him after an altercation. Essendon football player Michael Hurley was arrested for kicking and punching an Indian cabbie outside a fast-food outlet on Hoddle Street.

Hurley, 19, took a taxi outside a south Melbourne nightclub at about 5:30 am and went to the food outlet. He left the taxi to get some food and when the driver pursued him, asking for the fare, Hurley allegedly kicked him in the groin and punched him, according to 'The Herald Sun'. The police arrested Hurley at the scene. The soccer player was later taken to Fitzroy police station and questioned about the incident.

He was subsequently released. A Victoria police spokeswoman said the alleged attack was over a fare dispute. Hurley is expected to be charged for assault-related offences, according to media reports. The paper did not identify the Indian cab driver who reportedly received minor injuries in the incident.

Essendon, the club, has described the player's arrest as 'disappointing and unacceptable'. Essendon managing director Peter Jackson said," We are extremely disappointed that Michael was out so late and that he put himself in a situation where an incident occurred."

Jackson confirmed the incident and said that the club had spoken to Hurley and the police about it. "He started drinking at the Grand Final Footy Show after-party and by the night's end, he had clearly had too much to drink," Jackson said about Hurley.

"We are treating the matter very seriously and will take appropriate action once the details are clear. The club will continue speaking with Michael and he will assist the police in anyway he can," he added.

A spate of attacks on Indians in Australia has prompted the Indian government to take up the issue with Canberra. During a meeting in New Delhi today, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told visiting Victorian Premier John Brumby that India was worried about the continuing attacks on its citizens and asked Australia to ensure strict punishment to all those involved in such crimes.

Nearly 30 Indian students were attacked in various cities from June to August. Meanwhile, Indians in Australia have appealed to the media to be cautious while reporting such incidents as it might backfire on the community. 

Natasha Chaku In Melbourne