Bash victim calls on mayor to tackle racism in Ballarat

BALLARAT mayor John Burt has told of his disgust in the attack on an Indian restaurant owner on Friday night.

In a statement, he said he had been extremely disappointed to read of the attack, where the young victim had been bashed and verbally abused by a group of thugs outside his Bridge Mall shop.

"Ballarat is a city that prides itself on being welcoming of all," Cr Burt said.

"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.

"As a council we work very closely with the police, the multicultural communities and the broader community to encourage acceptance of all in Ballarat."

Mr Burt said he would be contacting the young victim to offer his support and express Ballarat's disappointment in the incident.

Himanshu Goyal, 22, suffered multiple fractures to his jaw after being punched while closing his Bridge Mall restaurant about 9.30pm on Friday. 

Eight men, believed to be in their late teens, shouted racial abuse at Mr Goyal and two of his staff members while another in the group punched him in the mouth. 

“I request the mayor of Ballarat to take some serious action against this racism,” Mr Goyal wrote on note paper from his hospital bed at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital. 

Unable to open his mouth, Mr Goyal wrote that he wanted the thugs to be “severely punished” and said he no longer felt safe in Ballarat. 

“I am very scared now and am thinking of selling my shop. I have experienced racism in the past and it needs to stop.”

Mr Goyal moved from India in 2008 to study. He said his only family in Ballarat was his younger brother and said he feared telling his parents in India about the attack because of the distress it would cause them. 

“Ballarat is like my home and most people treat me as family,” he said. “But I am missing home in India and my family very much now.”

Mr Goyal's Bridge Mall shop, where the bashing occurred

He said his father was the mayor of his city in India and that his family had been taught to respect all, regardless of race. 

Himanshu Goyal in hospital yesterday.

Himanshu Goyal in hospital yesterday.

“The mayor of this city must do something,” he said. “I want serious action taken against these people.”

He described the man who punched him as being in his late teens, about 170cm tall and wearing a sky blue t-shirt. 

Police investigating the incident are expected to review CCTV footage from the Bridge Mall in a hope to identify the thugs.

Mr Goyal planned to make a full statement when he is able to talk.

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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