Shots fired at family celebrating Diwali

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Johannesburg - A Hindu family are shattered by what they believe is a racial attack that ended their Diwali celebration with gunshots.

A night meant to end with fireworks and excitement ended with unknown men firing shots at the home of the Pillay family in Linmeyer, Joburg.

The Tuesday night attack came two weeks after the family moved into their new home.

Desmond Pillay said he had told his direct neighbours that they would be letting off fireworks to celebrate their main religious festive.

“I told them that an hour would be enough [for us] to discharge firecrackers. Everyone was aware because I had told them.”

He said that while the fireworks were going off in his yard, a white woman driving a Polo pulled over at his main gate.

“Just to let you know, the flying squad is already coming,” she allegedly screamed at Desmond. But the Pillays continued with the celebration until a white Toyota Tazz stopped at their gate just after 8pm.

“Once the car had stopped on the pavement, three gunshots were fired in our direction. We were afraid,” said Richard, Desmond’s brother.

The brothers said they were glad no one was injured.

“Anyone could have been injured or killed during the incident. Imagine what could have happened if the bullets had hit one of us,” said Desmond, adding that children as young as two were among them.

Richard said that a few minutes later, the woman driving the Polo arrived outside their property again.

“She was in the company of two guys. One was talking on his phone and the other was having a chat with the woman. We didn’t know what the motive was.”

He suspected the woman had returned to complain about the fireworks frightening her animals.

Desmond said he failed to understand why people behaved in such a manner.

“People use firecrackers all the time. I never interfered with people celebrating Guy Fawkes or New Year’s Day,” Desmond said, adding that he believed people had issues against the Hindu religion.

On Wednesday morning, when a team from The Star visited the family, Desmond’s daughter arrived back home after writing an exam. Micaela, a Grade 10 pupil, said the incident hadn’t stop her from writing her English exam.

“I was afraid the night before but I was fine today [Wednesday],” said the girl.

Police spokesman Xoli Mbele said a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property had been opened at Moffat View police station. No arrests had been made.

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