Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Prajjwal Kumar
*(The victims names have been changed to protect their identities)
"The three of them had no mercy. They did not spare us at all,” said 29-year-old *Divya Joseph, one of two Indian students who was thrashed, allegedly by three locals, in Scotland's Glasgow on Monday, 15 May.
Divya, a student at the University of Glasgow, and her flatmate *Aparna Talwar, a student at the University of Strathclyde, were on their way home after dinner at 10.30 pm on Monday when three people, allegedly Glasgow locals, assaulted them near Buchanan Street.
The two Indian women claimed that they were attacked "without any provocation." They have also alleged that they were subjected to "racist and xenophobic slurs."
Responding to a query, the Scotland Police spokesperson told The Quint, “Around 10.55 pm on Monday, 15 May, 2023, officers were called to a report of a disturbance on Buchanan Street, Glasgow.”
While the police did not confirm whether any arrests have taken place, Divya told The Quint that the police informed them that the three accused -- allegedly minors -- have been apprehended.
The Quint spoke to the two women about the 15 May incident and the 'racism and xenophobia' they allegedly faced.
‘Slapped Us Without Any Provocation’
"Every time I sleep, I recall what happened. I am not able to get them out of my mind,” said Aparna, 26, over the phone. Like Divya, she too had moved to Glasgow in September 2022.
The two women claimed to The Quint that they were "subjected to racist and xenophobic slurs."
Divya alleged to The Quint:
"We were assaulted and the people who did that screamed 'Go back to your country! We need to shoo you away from Scotland! What the *** are you doing here?'”
On Monday night, Aparna and Divya claimed that they were walking down Buchanan Street and paid no attention to a group of locals standing at the side of the road -- till one of them flung a garbage bag at them.
“I laughed it off because I saw a wine bottle in their hand, and I understood that they were probably drunk... But he picked up another garbage bag and threw it at Aparna," alleged Divya.
Startled by the behaviour of the three accused, Divya and Aparna claimed that they walked away in a bid to de-escalate the situation.
"We turned back to ensure that we were out of harm’s way when the three charged at us and slapped us without any provocation," said Divya.
'Go Back to Your Own Country'
In a 30-second clip accessed by The Quint, two women are seen attacking Divya and Aparna, while they hurled abuses and screamed at the pair to “go back to your own country.”
In the video, Divya can be heard apologising to the two women. After this, the two Indian students can be seen leaving the scene while the two accused followed.
“The man pulled Aparna by her hair, pinned her down and started beating her. When I tried to intervene, the two women started mercilessly kicking her, and then started punching me and kicking me too. One of the women had a half-filled wine bottle in her hand. She threw that wine bottle at Aparna who escaped it by an inch. They pulled her hair so badly that there were 200-300 broken strands. It looked like her hair was falling off.”
In a brief phone call with The Quint, Aparna alleged:
“I just escaped it (the bottle) or I would not have been talking to you right now... They kicked me, slapped me and punched me to a point that my whole face was swollen. They kicked me on my stomach, chest, torso... They kicked me wherever they could."
Midway, bystanders intervened, as per Divya. Both Aparna and Divya claimed that even after they tried to run away, the three accused followed them and continued the physical attack.
“They kept following us, abusing us, running behind us and kicking us from behind and chased us for half a mile (close to 800 m). At 11 pm, we were able to get into a taxi and rushed home but something very bad could have happened,” said Divya.
Police Confirm 'Disturbance,' No Comment on Xenophobia Claims
The Indian students alleged that apart from a case number, the local police were unable to provide a copy of their statements or any official documentation regarding the incident.
Moreover, even after the three accused were arrested, Divya has alleged that details regarding their identities and the motivation for the attack have been kept concealed.
“Around 10.55 pm on Monday, 15 May, 2023, officers were called to a report of a disturbance on Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances," said a Glasgow police official.
The survivors told The Quint the police reassured them that using CCTV footage, they will identify and locate the perpetrators.
Subsequently, Divya claimed that the police visited the two Indian students to collect "supplementary statements" and informed them that all three accused, who were apprehended, were minors.
‘I Can’t Tell My Family but I Have a Friend’
While Divya tried to contact the Glasgow police in the midst of the attack, she “was so horrified” that she couldn’t narrow down her exact location. It was only after they reached home that they contacted the authorities, who visited them and recorded their statements and took them to a hospital.
“When we were sitting in the emergency room, the doctors did a preliminary check up and at 3.30 am, they said that it would take at least five hours for a detailed examination. We decided to go back home, since I had an exam the next day and the hospital said that the wait would exceed five hours," claimed Divya.
She said that the pair spent close to 10 hours in a Glasgow hospital, two days after the incident took place, and underwent "X-rays, blood tests and urine tests to make sure there were no internal injuries."
While they spent a few hours hospitalised as well, Divya claimed that a CT scan of Aparna's brain could not be conducted, due to a technical snag.
“I called up my family on the night of the incident and cried my heart out. I was shaking and shivering. Now I wonder if every white guy is going to attack us,” said Divya.
Meanwhile, Aparna has not informed her family know about the incident yet. “I don't want to involve my family. Divya is here, it's okay,” she told The Quint, choking up.
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