Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

Anger over ‘racist rant’ directed at Diwali celebrants

By thobeka ngema Time of article published Oct 31, 2019

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Durban - A man has written to two organisations calling for an investigation into a “racist rant” aimed at Diwali celebrations.

On Monday the SA Hindu Dharma Sabha asked the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate and take action against Kosta Kalarytis.

Kalarytis’s Facebook post said: “F**k your religion and culture if it means you’ll be scaring animals and children late at night with fire crackers.”

In a letter sent to the two commissions, Sabha president Ram Maharaj said they would not allow any person to “trample on Hindus with impunity”, and would not tolerate intolerance. “Hindu-bashing must stop or be stopped. Enough is enough.

“The anti-Hindu slander cited above is deeply demeaning and invasive of the human dignity of members of the Hindu community. The rant is patently divisive, discriminatory, derogatory, denigratory and disingenuous, and can fan the flames of racist and/or religious hostility and hatred in South Africa.

“Furthermore, it constitutes a gross violation of the rights of Hindus to practise our religion and culture as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” Maharaj wrote.

On Tuesday there was no trace of Kalarytis’s comment on Facebook.

SAHRC communications co-ordinator Gushwell Brooks said a number of emails regarding Diwali had come through to the commission.

Brooks said the commissioners would try to consolidate the complaints.

SAHRC KZN manager advocate Lloyd Lotz said they had received complaints about racism during Diwali in the province.

Lotz said the commission was in the process of assessing the complaints.

The CRL Commission hosted a dialogue on the religious rights of communities in Durban on October 17.

There, SA Hindu Maha Sabha president Ashwin Trikamjee said there were challenges the Hindu community faced during Diwali celebrations.

In another incident, it is claimed racist insults were hurled at a resident and his guests at a complex in Pretoria for lighting fireworks on Sunday.

According to a Facebook post by Aryesh Ramlall, while he was celebrating Diwali in the complex he lived in, one of his white neighbours swore at him and his guests, who included Indian diplomats.

“He told us to ‘all go back to India’, and called me a ‘k****r’ when I argued back with him. He threatened to punch us all, including the women, and then proceeded to take our box of fireworks and throw them everywhere, and then he tore up most of our fireworks,” Ramlall said.

Daily News

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