Updated May 20th, 2024 at 17:31 IST

Indian Student's Future in Limbo After Violent Assault in Australia

After being attacked, Deka was immediately rushed to a hospital in Salamanca, where he was placed in a medically induced coma for three and a half months.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Devarshi Deka with his parents | Image:GoFundMe
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Devarshi Deka, a 32-year-old Indian student who left his government job to pursue higher education in Australia, has been left paralysed following a brutal assault in Hobart. The attack, which occurred on November 5 last year, has not only shattered Deka's dreams but also left his family struggling to cover the mounting medical costs.

Deka, affectionately known as Dev, came to Tasmania with hopes of building a better future by studying for a Master's in Professional Accounting at the University of Tasmania. However, his aspirations were cruelly interrupted when he was assaulted while celebrating his new part-time job with friends. The attack resulted in a severe brain injury, impaired vision in his left eye, and paralysis of his legs.

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Devarshi was in a medicaly induced coma for three and half months 

After being attacked, Deka was immediately rushed to a hospital in Salamanca, where he was placed in a medically induced coma for three and a half months. His recovery journey has been arduous and heartbreaking. "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 told ABC News.

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The man who assaulted him has been granted bail 

The man accused of the assault, 25-year-old Benjamin Dodge Collings, was arrested shortly after the incident but was granted bail. He faces charges of criminal code assault, which could lead to a maximum sentence of 21 years if convicted.

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Devarshi's medical insurance will expire in March next year

Deka's friend, Rishabh Kaushik, has voiced concerns about Deka's future, especially once his student visa and accompanying medical insurance expire in March next year. "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."

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Devarshi needs financial help 

As an international student, Deka does not qualify for Australia's Centrelink or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), making his continued care and rehabilitation uncertain. His family has applied for financial assistance through Tasmania's Victims of Crime Service, but the decision process could take months.

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Devarshi's friend has set up a GoFundMe

Kaushik has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Deka's immediate needs and is appealing to the government for long-term support. He stressed that returning to India is not a viable option due to the lack of nearby medical facilities. "Going back to India is no solution for him, especially when the nearest hospital from his hometown is 130 kilometers away," Kaushik explained.

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The university is providing accommodation to Devarshi's family

Despite facing racist abuse while caring for their son in Australia, Deka's parents, Kula and Deepalee Deka, remain hopeful that the Australian government will provide the necessary support for their son's recovery. The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has also been assisting the family, including providing accommodation, though the duration of this support remains 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.

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As the legal proceedings continue, the future remains uncertain for Devarshi Deka and his family, who are now facing both financial and emotional hardships in the wake of this tragic event.

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Published May 20th, 2024 at 17:31 IST