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Vile racist taunts lead owners of Cheltenham takeaway to consider selling up

By EchoJoe  |  Posted: April 25, 2014

Staff at Tennyson Food Plaza

Comments (16)

A sustained campaign of hate by racist thugs has led owners of a Cheltenham takeaway restaurant to consider quitting the business.

Sukh Randhawa, who owns Tennyson Food Plaza, in Tennyson Road, says she and her staff have been subjected to racist insults on a regular basis since they opened six months ago.

The mum-of-two, who is Punjabi by birth but has lived in the UK for 16 years, says she was spat at by one customer and called a “Paki” by another.

Male staff at the family business have also been taunted over their beards – an integral part of their faith as Sikhs.

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Mrs Randhawa said: “Our staff have to put up with abuse every week.

“I have been spat at, called names and my car outside has been damaged. Customers have called me ‘Paki’ and told me to go back to my own country.

“My staff have been abused for having beards.

“We have also been threatened by customers who say they are going to ruin our business by posting lots of negative reviews online.

“Someone even ordered £40 of food to a false address.

“Most of our customers are very loyal and treat us with respect. But a small minority make life very difficult.

“They don’t know how hard we work to run the business. It gets depressing when this kind of thing happens. It has made me think about selling the business.”

Mrs Randhawa set up the pizza, burger and curry diner after studying for a degree in business at the University of Gloucestershire. Opening from 4pm until 11pm each day, she runs it together with her husband Hapinder and brother Lakhwinder.

She said she had not reported incidents to the police because she feared nothing could be done.

She added: “A customer told me to report it to police, but what can they do?

“We are a hard-working family, we work long hours, and I just want to be treated with respect.

“It would be a shame for the area if we closed but we are seriously considering it.”

Asian community leaders voiced disgust at the family’s treatment, and offered their support.

Siddique Jafforay, vice president of the Cheltenham Bangladeshi Association, said: “I’m very sorry to hear this has happened.

“We are a Bangladeshi association but we embrace a diversity of people, whether they are Sikhs, Muslims or from any other background.

“Thankfully it’s not something we see in Cheltenham very often. We are based in Fairview and it’s extremely rare you get that kind of behaviour.

“It might be worse in St Mark’s as it is on the edge of a slightly rougher area.

“But what people must do is report these incidents to the police, because that is the only way to show people it will not be tolerated.”

Rahul Sachdeva, manager of Pizza Go Go, in the lower High Street, said idiots who made racist insults were part of life for many late night takeaway staff.

“Late at night when people have had too much to drink, these things can happen – not just here but in any town in the UK,” he said.

“The best thing is to ignore these people, or tell them you won’t serve them. Then call the police if you have to but there is only so much they can do.”

Chris Jackson, a spokesman for Gloucestershire police, urged people to report racist abuse.

He said: “No one should have to endure abuse because of their race, religion or sexuality and we would urge anyone in these circumstances to call police.

“Gloucestershire has fantastically strong and diverse communities and behaviour like this is completely unacceptable. We'll do all we can to help victims and bring offenders to justice.”

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  • Beelzebub666  |  April 26 2014, 12:03AM

    Well firstly as a resident of St Mark's I take humbridge to the comment made in the report that St Mark's is a rough area. Secondly this shop is and has been from day one a white elephant, a fast food outlet in an area that just doesn't warrant a shop like this. The takeaway that proceeded it cloned due to lack of business, this shop is no different it doesn't get used and as a business it is a failure. I don't believe that the owners would not contact the police if they suffered such abuse, they own the local shop a few doors up from this place, I don't think they have suffered any form of racial abuse during their tenure. I believe the business has failed due to it's location, not it's customer base, or in this case the lack of it. I don't condone racism or any other form of hateful behaviour, but I find this story to believe in it's entirety, if this shop closes it will be due to poor business more likely....

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  • Eva_Brick  |  April 25 2014, 4:32PM

    I think the difference between racism, religious hatred and homophobia on the one hand, and abuse or bullying of people for being "ginger, fat, bald or having a big nose", on the other, is that the former types of prejudice result in daily and lifelong discrimination, violence, murder and even war, while the latter generally don't. This isn't to say that the latter aren't a problem. But if you want to say they're as much of a problem as the former, you do risk trivialising the former just a wee bit.

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  • CaptCX  |  April 25 2014, 3:05PM

    Blimey!! And you thought I needed to relax!!

  • mystery1  |  April 25 2014, 2:56PM

    I agree with everything CaptCX says (sorry - just wondering if this comment will get reported and deleted as well)

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  • mystery1  |  April 25 2014, 2:53PM

    Classy way to twist my words about being positive to a thinly veiled dig at people with mental health issues. Given your wish for everyone to be nice to each other (with which I firmly agree with you, despite our other differences) that was a bit low I feel.

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  • mystery1  |  April 25 2014, 2:45PM

    Not a busy bee at all - just a couple of acts of parliament. Of course that has occurred to me and I'm more than accepting of different opinions (and believe me, in this particular case, I'm happy to be as different as possible). I wasn't the one suggesting prozac (but thanks for mocking people with mental health issues - that's actually pretty insulting).

  • CaptCX  |  April 25 2014, 2:36PM

    Wow Mystery1 - haven't you been a busy little bee!! It seems important to you that everyone agrees with you, otherwise they must be pedantic/negative/obsessed/upset/martyred/distressedwhatever (delete as applicable). Has it occurred to you that others might have opinions different to yours without needing prozac prescribed for them?

  • mystery1  |  April 25 2014, 2:04PM

    CaptCX - rather than searching for a daft quote about the police commenting on fat gingers with big noses, I thought I'd direct you to some information that may quell your fears and enable you to relax over the weekend in a less distressed state than you appear to be having been so upset by Mr Jackson's comments as quoted by the Echo. You may wish to read sections 4, 4A and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 (and their respective amendments and SIs). I suspect you may only temporarily be re-assured by the knowledge that the laws exist, as your past comments lead me to believe that you will remain concerned by something else, perhaps lack of enforcement of those laws by the police. Either way, I wish you a cheerier weekend and perhaps a nice serving of optimism for your tea. :-)

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  • CaptCX  |  April 25 2014, 1:40PM

    I think that you are correct SteveAA - and therein lies the problem.

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  • SteveAA  |  April 25 2014, 1:22PM

    Actually CaptCX, Chris Jackson is limiting himself (quite rightly) to those elements of abuse that are subject to legal backing. To the best of my knowledge there is no law against abusing someone because they are ginger, fat, bald or having a big nose. (as long as they do it politely go course)! As such the police ought not to get involved in support of gingers!

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