UK riots: Attacked Indian couple traumatised
An Indian couple who migrated to Britain five years ago was one of the victims of the recent riots in Croydon, London, when they were physically attacked and their food shop looted and destroyed last Monday night.world Updated: Aug 14, 2011 15:38 IST
An Indian couple who migrated to Britain five years ago was one of the victims of the recent riots in Croydon, London, when they were physically attacked and their food shop looted and destroyed last Monday night.
The days of mayhem last week hit many British Asians, including Indian jewellers and shopkeepers, but the story of Kerala-origin Lisy George, 37, and Binu Mathew, 40, has been largely unknown.
Traumatised by the feral attacks, the two are now planning to return to Kerala.
Lisy George, a nurse, was trying to get to the Croydon University Hospital to start her night shift when she was grabbed by a gang of youths who ripped her uniform, dragged her into the road and stole the contents of her handbag.
According to the Telegraph, the attackers included a woman who punched her husband, Binu, leaving him covered in blood, after he refused to get out of their van.
The two were trying to flee disorder in Croydon when they were set upon and robbed.
Their food shop had already been smashed and looted and Mathew decided to pull the shutters down and drive his wife to safety.
However, they only got as far as traffic lights at the end of the street.
Mathew said: "We are thinking of giving up and going back to Kerala because this is not what we expected in England. These people did not have any shame.
"It was so senseless. They even stole custard powder and rice. It is worth nothing to them, so why destroy our livelihood and everything we have worked hard for?"
Recounting the horror, Lisy said: "They ripped my uniform and left me semi-naked in the street. They were acting like wild animals. A woman punched my husband and left him bleeding. They wanted the van to drive away what they had stolen."
"He refused to give her the keys so she punched him and screamed 'burn them, burn them'," she added.
"They stole the 1,000 pounds he had and my NHS badge. They took my handbag, emptied it and threw it back to me."
The couple called the ambulance but were told to come to hospital on their own because it was too dangerous to go to the area.
George said: "A neighbour covered me up and took us in, which saved our lives. My husband watched from their window as the shop was looted all night. He was crying so much I had to pull him away from the window.
She added: "We worked so hard to start our business and now we have lost everything, including my wedding chain. I cannot sleep because I am so terrified, and I cannot go to work."
Mathew's van was eventually torched and burned out in the road at the scene of the attack. The shop's computerised tills were also stolen, leaving a total bill of 20,000 pounds for the damage to the premises and up to 10,000 pounds to replace the vehicle, although the couple are hopeful some of the costs can be recovered through insurance.
Mathew, a former IT manager, told the Telegraph: "We are not rich people, so I don't know why they attacked us.I have never claimed benefits or asked for any money from anyone.
"I have yet to make a penny profit from the shop because it is out first year."
George said: "None of us can sleep properly any more. We have to stay together all night and talk otherwise we just have nightmares. Every noise makes us frightened."
First Published: Aug 14, 2011 15:35 IST