Thursday, May 25, 2006

Racist violence in Barking

IT IS LESS than a month since the British National Party won 11 council seats in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and already racist violence has hit the borough. Kiran Randhawa, an Afghan immigrant who fled the Taliban regime has been stabbed in a racially motivated attack near Barking station.
The mechanic in his 30s was set upon by four white men, who reportedly shouted “fucking Pakis” before they stabbed him in the chest and stomach.
After the attack the gang – all wearing Arsenal football shirts – left an England flag draped over their victim before fleeing, witnesses said.
The man, who is known locally as Asad but has not been formally named, is in a serious but stable condition at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. After the BNP’s success in the election for Barking and Dagenham council this month, anti-racism activists warned racial attacks were likely to increase in the area.
Gerry Gable, publisher of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, said: “Throughout their history, wherever the BNP have gone, racial violence has followed.”
Meanwhile the new BNP councillors made fools of themselves at their first council meeting.
The town hall was surrounded by a large group of anti-fascist protesters and the new fascist councillors were shouted down outside and inside the hall.
But the leader of the BNP group had tabled an amendment to the council’s constitution to condemn discrimination against “the indigenous majority”.
But laughter broke out as only one of the 11 BNP councillors raised his hand to vote for the amendment. After the meeting, Cllr Barnbrook claimed the mistake had occurred because his party thought they were supposed to press buzzers to vote.
His request to hold the vote again was refused, drawing laughter and heckling from the public gallery. Chairman Cllr John Davis, at one point ordered Cllr Barnbrook to sit down, after he repeatedly interrupted the meeting claiming his copies of documents had not turned up until the day before.
This brought strong protestations from senior officers and all of the other councillors that everybody had received them at the same time.
On Merseyside Alex McFadden, a leading trade unionist and anti-fascist campaigner, was last week attacked and stabbed at the front door of his Wirral home.
McFadden believes racists are behind the attack, as he has received death threats before. He said: “He missed my eye by half an inch. The doctors say I am lucky.”
McFadden is president of the Merseyside Trades Councils and a champion of minority groups. He was a driving force behind a local newspaper’s bully-busters campaign to set up a free helpline for victims of school bullying.