Fake news adding to fam­ily trauma

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SA­DIA Sukhraj’s vi­o­lent death rocked the com­mu­nity of Chatsworth and sparked an up­ris­ing against crime and al­leged po­lice in­ac­tion.

But the dev­as­tated fam­ily of the 9-year-old Shall­cross girl not only have to deal with burying their beloved daugh­ter and vis­its by sev­eral politicians, but ru­mours and gossip on social me­dia.

Fear­ing they might be harmed as a re­sult of this, pri­vate se­cu­rity have stood guard out­side their home since Thurs­day.

The fam­ily, said their spokesper­son, Pas­tor Cyril Pil­lay, have been left even more trau­ma­tised as fake mes­sages did their rounds claim­ing that Sa­dia’s father, Pas­tor Shailen­dra Sukraj, might have fired the fa­tal bul­let as he and oth­ers chased af­ter the rob­bers who had hi­jacked his car, with lit­tle Sa­dia in it.

The fake mes­sages claimed he would be hand­ing him­self over to the po­lice.

Pil­lay said this was a hoax and the fam­ily were still wait­ing for bal­lis­tic re­sults, which po­lice con­firmed were still out­stand­ing be­cause of a back­log.

“No nor­mal hu­man be­ing would in­ten­tion­ally harm their own child,” he said.

“The fam­ily is trau­ma­tised by these ru­mours be­ing spread around and we are try­ing to find some sort of psy­cho­log­i­cal help for them.

“What­ever the re­ports re­veal we will stand by them but now with­out any re­sults, peo­ple should not be cal­lous and spread fake news.”

Pil­lay added the fam­ily had been over­whelmed with sup­port from the com­mu­nity mem­bers calling for jus­tice for their daugh­ter’s death.

On Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day, var­i­ous politicians, in­clud­ing Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Mx­olisi Kaunda, Hu­man Set­tle­ments MEC Ravi Pil­lay, Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele, MF leader Shameen Thakur Ra­jbansi and eThek­wini Mayor Zandile Gumede and her deputy, Fawzia Peer, vis­ited the griev­ing fam­ily.

Cele told them that the po­lice knew all three sus­pects.

“The man who is ar­rested at the mo­ment was out on pa­role for mur­der; he and the two ac­com­plices have a num­ber of cases against them for car­jack­ing,” he said.

When Thakur Ra­jbansi vis­ited, Shailen­dra told her that the com­mu­nity needed to work with po­lice to ef­fec­tively fight crime.

“It takes two hands to clap and to make a sound – and an ef­fec­tive sound – so we need to imag­ine if we work to­gether and put both hands (to­gether) and create a sound that will im­pact our na­tion. If we come to­gether in unity, I be­lieve it will be done.”

With 69 mur­ders, 103 at­tempted mur­ders, 472 thefts out of ve­hi­cles and 128 car hi­jack­ings in 2017, ac­cord­ing to Crime Stats SA, Chatsworth re­mains a high crime zone, with the com­mu­nity rat­tled by re­cent incidents, in­clud­ing the death of 9-year-old Sa­dia Sukhraj in a hi­jack­ing on her way to school. POST re­porters CHANELLE LUTCH­MAN and NA­DIA KHAN can­vassed the views of res­i­dents, while oth­ers write of their pain.

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