Hindu family shocked at racist act

2016-11-02 10:10
Witness reader Willy Schlosser photographed Diwali celebrations from his bedroom window in Montrose on Sunday night.

Witness reader Willy Schlosser photographed Diwali celebrations from his bedroom window in Montrose on Sunday night. (Willy Schlosser)

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Some members of the Hindu community have endured an outburst of offensive and racist comments following the Diwali festival on Sunday night.

A family from Meadows in Pietermaritzburg reported that a white man from their neighbourhood had allegedly destroyed their Diwali decorations while verbally abusing them.

Reshika Pillay told The Witness that on Sunday at around 8 pm while her family were preparing to start their fireworks celebration, her husband saw a white vehicle parking on the side of the road outside their house.

“My husband thought it was relatives. I went to check and saw that it was someone I did not know so I went back to where everyone else was.

“A few minutes later we heard someone shouting and using vulgar language outside the gate,” recalled Pillay.

She said they went to see what the commotion was about and saw the man approaching them with a long stick.

“He hit and broke our lanterns and clay lamps and continued to hit our fence and wall as he swore at us,” she said.

Pillay said the man came across “as being racist” as he had allegedly said: “It’s you f***ing people that have no f***ing brains”.

She said her husband remained very calm and told the man to stop what he was doing but the man allegedly told him that he could do whatever he wanted.

“After he had terrorised us, broken everything and sworn at us, he said, ‘Now you know how my dogs feel’,” said Pillay.

The Pillay family have three dogs of their own and had them tranquillised for the fireworks celebration.

Pillay opened a case of damage to property at Alexandra police station on Monday.

“I grew up in the apartheid era but I had never experienced anything like this before. It really frightened me to know that people still have hate towards us,” she said.

Many other offensive and racist remarks were posted on social media platforms following the Diwali celebrations.

On Facebook, Dawie Kriel referred to the Hindu community as “idol worshippers” and “devil disciples”, who should “p***-off back to … [their] dark hole”.

KZN DA chairperson Haniff Hoosen said the DA strongly condemns the racist comments by Kriel and would be laying a charge of crimen injuria against him.

“This language has no place in our constitutional democracy, where the right to religious freedom is enshrined in our Bill of Rights. It is disgustingly hateful and fundamentally undermines the dignity of many South Africans,” said Hoosen.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal also released a statement saying they will lay criminal charges against a number of individuals who allegedly made racist comments on social media platforms during the celebration of Diwali.

“A string of social media posts denigrating the Hindu community’s celebration of Diwali hark back to the crude apartheid past. The ANC remains resolute in its campaign to continue building the non-racial country by isolating racists that still hide in our communities,” the ANC said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  diwali

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