Video: Police arrest and charge man in alleged racist attack

TIME TO STOP: Raj Sharma with his two children after a racially motivated attack at his restaurant yesterday.
TIME TO STOP: Raj Sharma with his two children after a racially motivated attack at his restaurant yesterday. David Nielsen

UPDATE, 5AM: A 22-year-old Leichhardt man has been charged with committing a violent public nuisance after the racist attack on Indian Mehfil on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon the family, including two children, of restaurant owner Raj Sharma were allegedly racially abused and spat on.

The man was arrested and charged by police after the incident before being granted watch house bail. A second man was issued with an infringement notice.

One of the good Samaritans who saw the attack, but asked not to be named, said she was so shocked by the behaviour she felt compelled to step in.

"I was walking to the train station from work and there was a group of them sitting on the hill outside the church yelling at the two kids who were eating outside the restaurant," she said.

"One of them ran up and started yelling at the kids.

"It was so bad. I've never seen anything like it. It was shocking. I had to say something. You just don't do that."

She said when she told the group to stop their abuse they turned on her.

"When I said something, they started yelling at me. I wasn't going to back down though, and started giving it back to them telling them to leave them alone," she said.

"One of them came up to me and kept on lifting his shirt up, which was weird. And they kept telling me to get a job, which I had to laugh at."

Ipswich Cr Andrew Antoniolli, whose office is across the road from Indian Mehfil, said the continued attacks on the staff at the restaurant was unacceptable.

"Clearly they're copping abuse from the church garden on a regular basis," he said.

"This incident is quite disturbing from the point of view of the racism, the language and the abuse."

The 22-year-old was granted bail and will face Ipswich Magistrates Court on July 16.


6AM: A racist attack on the family of one of Ipswich's leading businessmen has him on the verge of leaving town.

Raj Sharma said his wife and two children were racially abused and spat on by teenagers outside his restaurant Indian Mehfil in d'Arcy Doyle Place yesterday.

Mr Sharma, who also owns Stumps Hotel, Fitsoul sports store and a number of bottle shops, said three teenagers were sitting on the hill near St Paul's Church yelling racially charged abuse at his family who were on the veranda outside Indian Mehfil.

They turned their attacks to one of the restaurant's staff members who walked outside and then a passer-by who attempted to intervene.

"I took my wife and kids inside straight away and called the police," Mr Sharma said.

One of the group then came inside the restaurant and continued to hurl abuse at them, spitting on Mr Sharma's family.

"I had the police on the phone and I told him: 'Please leave, please leave'," he said.

"We didn't provoke them, we didn't retaliate."

He said the attacks on his staff, and only those of Indian descent, were regular, occurring as often as once a week.

"This is common practice," Mr Sharma said.

"It used to happen at night.

"This happened in broad daylight."

Mr Sharma said he would be employing a security guard to protect his family and staff, who he called his "extended family".

"To keep my family and staff safe, if I have to close down my Ipswich businesses I will."

The attack came just weeks after two restaurant staff members were attacked in the Ipswich Mall.

Ipswich councillor Andrew Antoniolli, who's office is across the street from the restaurant, said the racist attack was unacceptable.

"Unlike the incident in the mall, which was not racially motivated, this was and it should not be tolerated," he said.

Topics:  andrew antoniolli editors picks indian mehfil racism raj sharma

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