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Desi couple spat at during train ride in Scotland – Times of India



Desi couple spat at during train ride in Scotland – Times of India

LONDON: An Indian couple holidaying in Scotland was spat at whilst travelling on a train in what police are treating as a racist crime. The couple, in their sixties, who split their time between Sindri in Dhanbad and Delhi, were visiting their son, Saurav Anand, in his thirties, who works at Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Anand moved to Britain in 2011 for his master’s. His parents had come to stay with him on a one-and-a-half-month trip. “It was the most racist, embarrassing and humiliating incidents in my life. I don’t think my parents ever want to come back to Scotland,” Anand told TOI.

He relayed how on Saturday at about 8 pm they were travelling on a train from Edinburgh to Armadale, together with Anand’s Polish girlfriend. His mother, Sheila Singh, was wearing a sawleer-kameez, and father Arbind Kumar was in a shirt and trousers.

“There was a man in his 40s with a younger man aged around 17 in the same carriage. Both had ponytails and the older man was covered in tattoos. They looked like father and son and locals. Both were white. I was talking to my dad and the older guy kept staring at us and then he said something to his son. The son stared at us a few times and it looked like they were talking about us. Then the older guy opened a pack of crisps and stuck his tongue out at my dad whilst drinking a can of beer, which he passed to his son. They got off at the next stop but stood on the platform and didn’t go anywhere. The train started moving and the younger one came up to the window where we were sitting, said something, looked at my dad and then spat at us through the window. I got up and shouted at him but the train had already left and then they both started walking off. It all happened in a split second.” Anand said he has dealt with subtle incidents of racism here in the past and moved on, but it is the fact it happened in front of his family that made him take it up with the police.

“My parents got scared for me as well and are now saying, ‘Why are you here? Come back to India.’ They are shocked.

My dad is a retired professor of history. He said to me: ‘It’s like the people here are still living in the colonial era and think they are superior,’” Anand said.

“My dad has a lot of self-respect. He has never been spat at by a young kid in India. It seems like in Scotland they lack diversity education. Crime is very high in west Scotland and there are a lot of drugs and alcohol problems,” Anand said.

“My mother told me not to report it to the police as she didn’t want any trouble. She was almost in tears when the cops came round on Sunday. She is worried they will come back for me. I do not want these men to get away with this. The police are going to look at the CCTV.”

A spokeswoman for British Transport Police said: “Officers received a report of a racially aggravated incident on board a train to Uphall at around 8 pm on Saturday, July 6. It is believed two men spat on a family’s window as they left the train at the station, having made them feel uncomfortable during the journey. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.” Six months ago Anand says he was falsely accused of shoplifting in an Armadale supermarket in what he believes was a racist incident. He wrote to the store afterwards to complain and they sent him a gift to apologise.
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