Indian student paralysed after assault in Australia, faces financial struggle

A 32-year-old Indian student, who quit his government job to study in Australia, was in a medically induced coma after an assault in the city of Hobart in Tasmania. The murderous attack left Devarshi Deka paralysed for life and his parents are struggling financially to support his medical care. Deka’s medical insurance that came along with the student visa is going to run out soon.

Deka quit his government job to study for a Master’s in Professional Accounting at the University of Tasmania.

He had secured a part-time job in Australia, but before starting his new role, he was assaulted on November 5 last year while out celebrating with friends. He had thrown a party for his friends after getting the job.

Deka’s student visa expires in March next year.

Devarshi Deka, 32, known as Dev, arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, last year with hopes of building a better future.

However, his aspirations were shattered following an alleged assault last November that put him in a medically induced coma for three and a half months, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Deka was rushed to a hospital in Salamanca after being attacked. He suffered severe brain injury, impaired vision in his left eye, his legs are paralysed.

“My body has a mind of its own. It doesn’t want to move according to my wish like before. [It’s] very grim and bleak, very bad last few months. If I want to make a move in the bed, if I want to turn to the side, I need to call up the nurses to help me do that,” Deka was quoted as saying by ABC News.

A 25-year-old man, Benjamin Dodge Collings, was arrested shortly after the assault but was granted bail later. He has been charged with criminal code assault, which could result in a maximum sentence of 21 years if convicted.

FRIEND CONCERNED OVER INSURANCE SUPPORT

Deka’s friend, Rishabh Kaushik, expressed concern over Deka’s future once his insurance support ends.

As an international student, Deka has no access to Centrelink or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) of Australia, essential for his continued care and rehabilitation.

Deka is currently being cared for at Hobart’s repatriation centre.

“Right now, Devarshi is being supported by his insurance while he makes medical progress,” Kaushik said. “But once that ends, there is no support available for him here.”

The cost of necessary specialist equipment and support is beyond the means of Deka’s family and friends. An application for financial assistance has been made to Tasmania’s Victims of Crime Service, but a decision could take months, according to ABC News.

Without government support, Deka’s only option would be to return to India, possibly before his student visa expires in March.

GOING BACK TO INDIA IS NOT A SOLUTION, SAYS DEKA’S FRIEND

Kaushik has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with Deka’s immediate needs and is urging the government to provide long-term support, emphasising that returning to India is not a viable option due to inadequate medical facilities near Deka’s hometown.

“Going back to India is no solution for him, especially when the nearest hospital from his hometown is 130 kilometres away,” Kaushik said.

Deka’s parents, Kula and Deepalee Deka, faced racist abuse while caring for their son in Australia. Despite this, they remain hopeful for support from the Australian government to ensure their son can continue his recovery in Hobart, reported ABC News.

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has been providing various forms of support for Deka and his family, including accommodation. However, the duration of this assistance is uncertain.

“This is a terrible situation for Devarshi and his family, and the university has been doing all we can to support them,” said James Brann, pro vice-chancellor at UTAS.

The court case regarding Deka’s assault is yet to be finalised.

Published By:

Girish Kumar Anshul

Published On:

May 20, 2024

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