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Durban - Two more people have been charged with crimen injuria and a hospital employee will be reported to the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA) for posting “vicious” messages about Diwali on Facebook two weeks ago.
And Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, who has received flak from some Hindus for refusing to let the matter rest, has now hired experts to trawl the web and to monitor social media sites in an attempt to find more derogatory posts.
The offending post on Diwali night was made by a Durban North resident, whose name is being withheld.
“I thought it was a festival of light!” the post reads. “What’s with the damn noise? Inconsiderate pricks, I hope you and your six-armed god and four-trunked elephants rot in a sea of illiterate, uneducated scum of rotting dead people that believe the same trash that you do! Go away, you are not needed, and neither is your stupid festival of noise! WHAT ABOUT OUR ANIMALS? Go away, please!!!!”
A post by another woman reads: “You are not the peaceful [vegetarian, fasting] people you claim to be. You murder and maim domestic animals.”
Her Facebook friend, who works at a Durban hospital, commented on the status:
“No the best is how stressed the whole family is when little Johnny has half his hand or face off and I must puzzle it all back together. I want child abuse charges opened on all admissions tonight with full case files opened!”
His friend then encouraged him to not use local anaesthetic and to limit analgesics (pain-reducing medication) when treating those coming in with injuries from fireworks-related injuries.
Many of the posts have since been deleted.
Reddy said on Tuesday that he had employed the services of an independent company to forensically authenticate the posts, and he plans to hit back with a Facebook page of his own.
“People have been… submitting examples of racism via social media, prompting me to establish my own Facebook ‘name and shame’ page, where racist posts will act as a reminder to others to think before they write,” he said.
He said the recent posts were callous and insensitive, and one woman’s reference to Hindu deities had been “particularly revolting”.
“These people are singularly destroying inter-racial relationships, by exposing their racist notions on such public forums,” said Reddy who, along with Chatsworth ward councillor Brandon Pillay, laid formal complaints at the Chatsworth police station on Tuesday. The hospital worker would also be reported to the HPCSA for his comments, Reddy said.
The criminal charges could not be confirmed by police at the time of going to press.
“This was a blatant attack on religious belief. This is my perspective, even though I don’t celebrate Diwali because I am Christian,” said Pillay.
Reddy had also recently laid a charge against Ballito woman Caroline Ashworth for her Facebook rant, in which the former beauty contest participant had described the Diwali celebrations as “f****** ridiculous”. “I hate you people letting off fireworks! So inconsiderate – you don’t deserve health, wealth, prosperity or any other of the things that Diwali is supposed to bring you,” she had posted.
But Ashworth had sought to make amends after her post went viral, and she later met community leaders to apologise for her comments. Her apology was accepted, but Reddy felt it was not good enough.
Reddy also lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.
The president of the Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said he had been appalled by the posts. “It is clear that despite 18 years of democracy, some white South Africans needed only a firecracker to bring their racist ideals out of the woodwork,” he said.