Race hate attacks plague subway
People living near an underpass say they are too scared to use it after a 71-year-old grandfather was attacked there.
Raja Amendra was set upon by a gang in the subway on his way in what is thought to be the latest of a string of racially motivated attacks.
For months residents have complained that they have been terrorised by a gang of teenage youths who loiter in the East Road subway in Chadwell.
According to the victims, the mainly white group of teenage boys, hurl abuse before launching into physical attacks.
Attacks thought to be racially motivated
In all the cases reported to police and neighbourhood teams the majority of victims have been Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Indian.
Mr Amendra's son Sajeev, says his father suffered a broken shoulder and fractured arm after he was attacked on his way home.
He was first punched to the ground before some of the gang started kicking him as the rest circled and watched.
"How can anyone do that to a 71-year-old man?" asks Sajeev.
"My father has been too scared to go outside since the attack. It makes me so angry especially as the problems have been there months.
"Many of our neighbours have been attacked and people are just not safe using the subway. It makes me want to sell up and move away to a safer area."
'We just won't use the subway now'
Murali Krishanam says he was approached by a teenage boy by the subway who punched him as he tried to get away.
"I had some shopping bags with me that day. It was Diwali and I had got some sweets and milk.
"I was coming out of the subway when a boy up behind me and asked me what time it was. I told him it was 4.30pm but he asked me again. I saw some other boys behind him so I didn't want to stop. When I turned away he punched me.
"I started to run along the road hoping someone might see me.
"But I tripped and fell. I broke a tooth and got some cuts and bruises
"I had to leave my shopping on the pavement and I lost my phone and keys which had fallen out of my pockets.
"I reported it to the police but nothing seems to have happened about it. It's very frustrating.
"Now, I and my family take a detour to get home because we just won't use the subway."
'Gangs have hi-jacked the subways'
Dr Saibal De lives just opposite the subway exit and says the problem has existed for years but has flared up again over recent months.
"Within the last two weeks three of my neighbours have been assaulted coming through the subway.
"It's like the subways have been hi-jacked by these gangs. Everyone is just too scared to use them."
He says the problem has persisted for so long because the subway lies on the border of Chadwell ward in Redbridge and Chadwell Heath in Barking and Dagenham but confusion remains over which authority should take ownership of the problem.
"There seems to be an element of passing the buck here among TfL, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham councils. Nothing's been done because no-one is sure who should be dealing with it."
Close the subway
Local people say they would now like to see the subway crossing closed altogether saying it would stop the gang from being able to hide out there and continue with their attacks. Adding a traffic light crossing should be put in its place.
If you or someone you know has been attacked in or near the East Road subway please contact the Shepherds Close Neighbourhood Watch team via Wilson Chowdhry. Tel: 020 8514 0861 or email: email@example.com
last updated: 27/11/2008 at 16:49