Indian student paralyzed after assault in Australia, faces financial struggle

Indian student paralyzed after assault in Australia, faces financial struggle

Devarshi Deka, an Indian student studying in Australia, has been left paralysed after an assault. His future remains uncertain as his visa and medical insurance are about to expire.

Indian Student Paralysed in Australia Indian Student Paralysed in Australia

A 32-year-old Indian student, Devarshi Deka, is facing severe financial and medical challenges after a brutal assault in Hobart, Tasmania, left him paralyzed. Deka, who had quit his government job in India to pursue a Master's in Professional Accounting at the University of Tasmania, was attacked on November 5 last year, shortly before he was to start a new part-time job.


The assault resulted in severe brain injury, impaired vision in his left eye, and paralysis of his legs. Deka was placed in a medically induced coma for three and a half months. “My body has a mind of its own. It doesn't want to move according to my wish like before,” Deka told ABC News.


Deka's medical insurance, tied to his student visa, is nearing its end, leaving his parents, Kula and Deepalee Deka, struggling to finance his continued care. Without access to Centrelink or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia, Deka's situation is precarious. His friend, Rishabh Kaushik, highlighted the dire situation, stating, “Once that [insurance] ends, there is no support available for him here.”


In response to Deka's plight, Kaushik has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for immediate needs and is calling on the government for long-term support. Returning to India is not considered a viable option due to the inadequate medical facilities near Deka's hometown, located 130 kilometers from the nearest hospital.


Benjamin Dodge Collings, the 25-year-old man arrested for the assault, has been charged with criminal code assault and faces a maximum sentence of 21 years if convicted. Despite this, he was granted bail shortly after the incident.


The University of Tasmania has been providing accommodation and various forms of support to Deka and his family. However, the duration of this assistance 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.


Deka’s parents, who faced racist abuse while caring for their son in Australia, remain hopeful for support from the Australian government to ensure Deka can continue his recovery in Hobart. An application for financial assistance has been made to Tasmania's Victims of Crime Service, but a decision could take months.


As Deka’s student visa expires in March next year, his future remains uncertain, highlighting the urgent need for continued support to help him recover and rebuild his life in Australia.

Edited By: Krishna Medhi
Published On: May 20, 2024