Indian Student Paralyzed in Hobart Assault Faces Financial Struggles

International Desk, 20th May: Devarshi Deka, a 32-year-old Indian student pursuing a Master’s in Professional Accounting at the University of Tasmania, is grappling with severe financial and medical challenges after a vicious assault in Hobart, Tasmania, left him paralyzed. The attack, which occurred on November 5 last year, inflicted severe brain injury, impaired vision in his left eye, and paralysis of his legs, forcing Deka into a medically induced coma for three and a half months.

As Deka’s medical insurance, linked to his student visa, nears expiration, his parents, Kula and Deepalee Deka, are grappling with the financial burden of his ongoing care. Despite being ineligible for Centrelink or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia, Deka’s circumstances leave him without adequate support. His friend, Rishabh Kaushik, has launched a GoFundMe page to alleviate immediate financial pressures, while advocating for government assistance for long-term care.

Returning to India isn’t feasible due to the lack of adequate medical facilities near Deka’s hometown, located 130 kilometers away from the nearest hospital. Meanwhile, Benjamin Dodge Collings, the 25-year-old assailant, faces charges of criminal assault, with a maximum sentence of 21 years if convicted, yet was granted bail post-arrest.

While the University of Tasmania has provided temporary accommodation and support, the duration of assistance remains uncertain. Deka’s parents, who also endured racist abuse while caring for their son, remain hopeful for government support to facilitate Deka’s recovery in Hobart. An application for financial aid has been submitted to Tasmania’s Victims of Crime Service, although a decision is pending.

With Deka’s student visa expiring in March next year, his future hangs in the balance, underscoring the pressing need for sustained support to aid his recovery and reintegration into life in Australia.

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