“I fear for my family”.
Sumeet Anand sits on his couch in his Nerrina home, his left eye bloodshot, yellowed and weeping furiously, his forehead a mass of bruises, with several cuts to his mouth and nose, his knees and back scratched and scabbed.
His injuries are the result of a brutal, racially inspired bashing on Monday night – the first he has ever faced after 35 years of living in Australia.
For Mr Anand, one racial assault is one too many and the 43-year-old restaurant owner is making a stand after his wife Mandeep and 10-year-old son Yash were forced to bear witness as two thugs beat him unconscious outside a bottle shop on the corner of Mair and Humffray streets at about 10.30pm.
WATCH MR ANAND’S EMOTIONAL VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE
“Me, my wife and my son went to Humffray Street after finishing work,” Mr Anand said.
“I told her to stop the car and I'll go grab a couple of beers (from the bottle shop) and by the time I opened the car, out of nowhere these two guys came running and they started bashing me and saying things like ‘go back to your own f****** country, you don’t belong here, you took our jobs’.”
“He was lying on the road – they kept bashing him,” Mandeep added.
“They treated him like he was an animal, they said you go back to your country, f****** black Indians.
“My son was crying, he was shocked.”
Mr Anand said the attack had rattled his family to its core, with ramifications felt on many levels.
Mr Anand elected not to name his restaurant, fearing the incident will tarnish its reputation, but when asked when he could return to work, he answered: “you know, I am shaky at the moment”.
“Maybe they (authorities) need to try to punish (the offenders), or maybe they don’t punish, they help (educate).
“It’s happened to me, and it’s going to happen to another person – another Indian, or another person.
“That’s why somebody has to make a stand, you can’t sit and wait.”
A statement from Victoria Police said the investigation was ongoing, with two men believed to be responsible for the assault.
Mr Anand’s wife said the two assailants bolted from the scene shortly after the attack, with two bystanders coming to their aid.
Originally from New Delhi, Mr Anand said equality is crucial to a well functioning community.
“Everybody is equal and blood is the same – it’s not (as though) one person’s blood is white and another’s is black – all blood is red,” he said.
“That’s what people have to understand, so we can live life as a good community and help each other.
Mr Anand said he had contacted the Ballarat Indian Association and is meeting with president Xavier Mani on Tuesday evening.
He also intends to contact Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson.
Ballarat Detective Sergeant Steven Howard said police are investigating to see if the incident was racially motivated.
“Victoria Police does not tolerate violence and takes all crime seriously, including that which is motivated by prejudice, racism or discrimination,” Detective Sergeant Howard said.
“Every Victorian has the right to feel safe and secure in the community and any crimes targeted at our faith or multicultural communities will not be tolerated.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact police or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.