Indian family on tour in Ireland racially abused for 'skin colour' and 'nationality'

Prasun Bhattacharjee said that the man had verbally abused them for their "skin colour, nationality, and other things".

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Indian family on tour in Ireland racially abused for 'skin colour' and 'nationality'

An Indian family of three was subjected to racial abuse by a man on a train from Belfast to Dublin earlier this month.

Indian tourist Prasun Bhattacharjee and his parents were at the receiving end of an hour-long tirade against their skin colour, culture and accent by a man sitting next to them on the train during their holiday in the European nation, as per an Irish Times report.

The man, who was sitting next to them during the train journey was drinking from a can of beer. Bhattacharjee believes that the man was drunk while making the derogatory statements against them.

Speaking to the Irish daily, Bhattacharjee said that the man had verbally abused them for their "skin colour, nationality and other things".

Witnesses say that when a member of the train staff arrived at the scene, he simply asked the unidentified man -- who would occasionally get up from his seat -- to sit down. He was not asked to deboard or refrain from making the racially abusive comments.

"The train guard could have done more," one of the witnesses, named Peter, said. Peter described the man as "boisterous". He recalled that the man told Bhattacharjee that "you might be able to tell your wife what to do but you can't tell me what to do".

"We felt so bad," Bhattacharjee added, highlighting how the racially abusive tirade lasted all the way to Dublin.

Peter said that he approached the Indian family at the end of the journey and apologised to them.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has called for a more proactive approach towards tackling racism in light of the event.

"How we respond to this kind of thing is crucial," Pippa Woolnough, the organisation's communications and advocacy manager, said.

She, however, highlighted that there has not been a national plan against racism since 2008. "So we have no empirical data on the scale of the problem which would inform policy," the Irish Times quoted her as saying.

"We need to be proactive we can not wait for this to get worse. It is not what most Irish people want," she added.

The Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny called it "a shocking incident," adding that the Irish Rail was "very sorry that this family experienced such disgraceful behaviour on board one of our train services."

He added that train staff had tried to stop the racial abuse, and also arranged for security to meet their train upon their arrival.

Bhattacharjee contacted the Irish Rail directly via social media regarding the incident, asking for further information for investigations.

"We have also been contacted by other customers with information. We will also provide gardai with CCTV footage to help identify the individual involved. Abuse of this nature has no place on our trains or anywhere in our society," Kenny said.

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