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A 23-year-old student from India was assaulted and her belongings stolen while travelling on a Melbourne train on Sunday.
Monash University student Kritika was returning from a trip to the city with her friend when the alleged incident occurred.
“All the girls started hitting me really badly. They kicked me, they punched me. They pulled my hair. They slapped me. I have bruises,” she told 7 News.
The incident occurred near Oakleigh around 5 am on Sunday while Kritika was going back to her accommodation in Clayton.
Victoria Police say it began with a verbal altercation that quickly degenerated into a physical assault by a group of teenagers.
“A verbal altercation took place between the woman and the group of youths on the train which resulted in the woman being assaulted by the group,” a police spokesperson told SBS Punjabi.
But Kritika says she was assaulted because of racism.
“The girl who started hitting me was a white girl and I think, it was basic racism and it led to physical assault,” she told 7 News.
An ambulance was called and she was taken to the Alfred Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. She has since been released.
Police say while she was being assaulted, Kritika dropped her purse. A male passenger picked it up and stole it.
All the alleged offenders are perceived to be African and Islander in appearance, all aged in the mid to late teens.
An investigation is ongoing and the police are appealing to anyone with information to contact crime stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.