Police in England are searching for a teenager who was captured bullying and spewing racial slurs at two Nepalese British sisters in a video that has gone viral on social media.
On Saturday, Kanti Gurung, 23, and her 16-year-old sister were walking around their hometown when she says a group of individuals started shouting racist slurs at them at around 4:45 p.m. local time in Maidstone, Kent.
In the viral video, a girl with blonde hair — who social media users identified as Tammy Smith — can be seen racially mocking and trying to physically assault Gurung.
“Look at you. Ching, ching, chong!” she says as bystanders are seen filming and laughing at Gurung.
“I did not know or recognize any members of the public filming, but instead of them trying to keep us safe we were mocked like animals,” Gurung tells NextShark.
During the incident, Gurung noted that a security guard in the retailer Primark was able to protect them. Although the victims were not physically injured, the racist incident has left Gurung and her sister feeling unsafe in their own hometown.
This is when I realized we’re not welcome in the country we were brought up in. Everyone who stayed silent and didn’t stand up for us are just as bad. Silence is violence. At that moment, my sister Mary and I felt attacked. It was a large group of people against us.
I am disappointed by our society. I never thought my hometown would be where I feel unsafe. I worked in the Superdry in town, and it made me realize the customers I was helping one day could be the people recording me and my sister getting racially attacked the next.
Following the attack, Gurung reported the incident to Kent police and local authorities.
As of this writing, Smith has not been located, leaving Gurung worried for the safety of her sister. Gurung has been walking Mary to and from school to ensure her safety.
Her school failed to understand the seriousness of this attack, and her peers have shown lack of compassion. Instead, Mary has been ostracized even more. It shows how deep rooted racism is that our own society cannot reflect and recognize the mistakes in their actions.
Gurung said she cried as she reflected on the sacrifices her parents have made for their family and for the U.K.
My dad is an ex-veteran, a Gurkha, a Nepali soldier with alliance with the British Embassy. He has fought for our country. To be unwelcome in a country my dad gave up so much to be in made my blood boil. Not only are we third generation, but our heritage is as close to the U.K. as it is to Nepal. My little sister was born here. So when they say “go back to your country” where do they mean by that?
Gurung said that the racially motivated attack took place on the same day that her and Mary’s original song, “I Used to Be,” was played on BBC Music Introducing.
“It’s a shame this event has overshadowed a really wonderful accomplishment,” Gurung tells NextShark. “We’re finding it hard to see the positive during these times, but our music is our safe haven.”
According to Gurung, the song is about “letting go of the past and growing into the person you’re becoming.” Gurung originally wrote the song on guitar, while Mary produced the accompanying beat. The sisters, who share a passion for music, hope to produce a collaborative EP soon.
Gurung, who has been making music since she was 16, wants to use her talent “to shed light” on political matters and societal issues, such as the racism she and her sister encountered, she believes is lacking in the music industry.
But to Gurung, “a voice is necessary, powerful and needs to be used and heard. People need to be awakened to the truth.”