Indian family tired of torment

NICHOLAS BOYACK
Last updated 10:39 11/03/2014
Hutt CCTV

Police CCTV footage of young men intruding at Wainuiomata Indian couple's home.

Raj family
FAIRFAX NZ
FED UP: Sujatha and Hemant Raj have no idea why they are being tormenting.

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The Raj family of Wainuiomata have suffered eight years of harassment and local police say it is hard not to conclude it is racially motivated.

Sujatha and Hemant Raj's Homedale house has been egged and pelted with stones, and they have been of the receiving end of verbal abuse.

Their fence has been damaged, windows broken and recently tiles on their roof were smashed by large rocks, resulting in a severe leak.

With their insurance company now starting to quibble about paying out for damages, Mr and Mrs Raj contacted the Hutt News in an effort to identify those responsible.

Mrs Raj said the police had being done a good job, knocking on doors, organising a community patrol and responding promptly to incidents.

The attacks, at night and infrequent, made it hard for police to catch the culprits so a security camera has been installed.

However, the camera has yielded some clues. Although the pictures are grainy, up to seven young men appear to be involved.

The couple do not feel safe in their home and are calling on fellow Wainuiomata residents to help identify the culprits.

They are reluctant to speculate on the cause of the trouble.

Originally from India, they settled in Wainuiomata in 2004.

Community constable Tony Shearer said they were a lovely family and he had put a lot of effort into solving the case.

His "gut feeling" is that it is a hate crime as there is no other explanation.

The lack of success was frustrating, but he said he was hoping the images from the camera wouldl give him a result.

Like Mr and Mrs Raj, he said he believed someone in the neighbourhood must know the young men and he wants them to come forward.

"Everyone's lips are sealed. I have made many, many inquiries and no-one seems to know anything about it."

He is hoping publicity will result in a change in attitude.

"I would like to think there will be a whole lot of public support and people will say 'this is crazy that this is happening in our community'."

Councillor Margaret Willard was not aware of the problem when the Hutt News contacted her.

"I am appalled; I did not know this was happening. I am absolutely shocked that it is happening in our community."

She said liked to think Wainuiomata is an inclusive suburb and that neighbours will rally to show support.

"I don't think this is an indication of our community at all. We just have some toe rags who have gone too far."

- Community Constable Tony Shearer, phone 564 0088.

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