5 SA Indians charged with racism
Fakir Hassen in Durban
South African Indians have been charged with acts of gross racism against black women and children in two different towns, just days after the World Conference against Racism ended in Durban.
Police are investigating allegations that three South African Indians in the suburb of Newlands West forced a five-year-old black boy to commit a depraved act with a dog.
The accused, neighbours of the boy's family, have denied the allegations.
The case generated further heat with the boy's father alleging that a South African Indian police officer at the Newlands West police station refused to take his statement when he went to press charges against the men.
The officer allegedly told the father that he would speak to the boy himself. Police spokesman Vish Naidoo said this was wrong as the boy was a minor and his parents were the right people to press charges.
The second incident occurred in the rural town of Kokstad, also in KwaZulu Natal province. Two South African Indian shopkeepers were charged with indecently assaulting three black women who were allegedly caught shoplifting.
The two brothers -- Moosa Moosa, 25, and Ahmed Essop Moosa, 20 -- and their two white accomplices reportedly beat up the women and forced them to eat the hot pepper, candles and soap they had tried to steal.
The women claim they were stripped naked and tortured. The four men have appeared in the local magistrate's court. The hearing of the case has been put off till next month. Further investigation is on.
Human rights activists have reacted angrily to both incidents. Some said the acts were deliberately kept away from the public eye because the authorities were afraid these would generate negative publicity during the conference.
Had the acts been made public earlier, they said, appropriate protest action would have been taken at the race conference.
There have been a number of widely reported cases of abuses against blacks by whites, especially on rural farms, despite legislation prohibiting this. This is the first time that South African Indians have been accused of such vile acts.
Local community leaders have condemned the actions. .