Belfast Telegraph

Indian man chased, kicked and terrorised by knife-wielding racist gang

By Amanda Poole

An Indian man has told of the terrifying moment he was attacked by knife-wielding racist thugs on the way home from worship.

Santosh Chowdhury (55) was walking home from a Sikh temple near his home in north Belfast late on Saturday night when he was attacked by three teenage boys — one brandishing a knife.

Mr Chowdhury, who suffers from arthritis, told the Belfast Telegraph he feared he would die at the boys’ hands and now worries for their next victim.

“I had been preparing for the Sunday festival and I was only 15 minutes from home, so I walked,” Mr Chowdhury said.

“The three boys were coming along Brookhill Avenue, when suddenly they were around me.”

He added: “They told me to give them my money, mobile phone and watch. When I told them I would call the police, one of the boys took out a knife.

“I was very afraid, but I couldn’t run away fast enough. They pushed me to the ground and kicked me in the face and head.”

As a result of the brutal, unprovoked attack Mr Chowdhury now has a bruised face and knee, plus pain and swelling in his head and a sore jaw.

Originally from Calcutta, India, he has lived in Europe for the last 32 years and says in the six years he has lived in Belfast he has always felt safe, but is now fearful to go out alone.

“Northern Ireland people, especially in Belfast, are friendly,” he added. “I’ve never found anyone racist. When you ask people for help, they are there and they always take time to talk to you.

“When I decided to move to the UK from Amsterdam, I chose Belfast because it is nice and cosy and a place with outstanding natural beauty.”

Mr Chowdhury, who had been working at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown until recently, said: ”I hope people read my story and talk about what is a happening on our streets. Where do the parents of these young boys think they are at night?”

All three attackers are boys believed to be aged 14 or 15.

North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness visited Mr Chowdhury at home following the attack.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

“Santosh is a man of peace. He is a very forgiving and trusting man and would be keen to point out to the boys the error of their ways.”

A PSNI spokesman confirmed it was investigating a racially motivated attempted robbery in the Brookvale Avenue/Cliftonville Avenue area.

Factfile

Incidents and crimes recorded by the police in Northern Ireland with a racist motivation:

  • 2010: 870
  • 2011: 727

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