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Hate attack on Indian student

New York, June 26 (PTI): An Indian graduate student was robbed, beaten, stabbed and dumped in the middle of a road by four men in Boston in what is suspected to be a hate crime against expatriates.

Saurabh Bhalerao, 24, of Indore was said to be stable last night after undergoing emergency surgery at Rhode Island Hospital, a hospital spokesperson said.

“It’s probably one of the most vicious robberies I have ever seen, but it’s not unheard of,” Fairhaven police chief Gary F. Souza was quoted as saying by a city daily.

Three of the four attackers have been arrested and one has been charged.

The graduate student at Massachusetts Dartmouth, working for Sarducci’s Subs and Pizza, was making a delivery at a Weld Street flat on Sunday night when he was attacked, police said.

The four men at first intended to rob Bhalerao, but stepped up their assault thinking he was a Muslim, Souza said. As they rained blows on him, Bhalerao tried to explain he was a Hindu.

“He pleaded with his attackers.... They were telling him he should go back to Iraq,” the police officer said. The attackers also singed Bhalerao’s face and ears with a cigarette.

After three of the men trussed him up and stuffed clothes in his mouth, they beat and kicked Bhalerao, breaking the bones in his face, Souza said.

The attackers then forced Bhalerao into the trunk of his own car and drove towards Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven. The wounded student managed to loosen the ropes and wriggle out of the trunk.

When the four men confronted Bhalerao, he swung at one of them a hammer he had found in the trunk. The attackers then stabbed him three times before running away, the police said.

Two 17-year-old girls, who were driving by, found Bhalerao on the road and called the police.

The attack was a violent crime against a peaceful man, said Madhu Jhaveri, the adviser to the Indian Students’ Association at Umass Dartmouth. Bhalerao was the association president for 18 months.

A pretrial hearing of the case is scheduled for July 23.

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