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Edinburgh- Racist thugs attack as man goes to girl's aid

AN Indian shop assistant suffered a broken jaw after being beaten by a gang of racist thugs when he tried to stop them attacking a woman.

The Scotsman, 13 October 2010

Pankaj Rawat was walking home after a night out when he intervened to protect the woman on Waverley Bridge.

But the 21-year-old was hit with a volley of racial abuse before being punched to the ground by one of the men in the group of five before another repeatedly kicked him.

Mr Rawat, who moved from India to Edinburgh 18 months ago, was rushed to hospital, where he had a metal plate fitted to his fractured jaw.

Now he has lost his job with a city clothes shop after his bosses were unable to give him four weeks off work to recover from his injuries.

Police are appealing for help in tracing the five men involved in the incident, who fled down Princes Street after the assault at around 3.40am on Saturday.

Mr Rawat said: "I'd been out for a friend's party at Mood and was walking back to my home in Tollcross with another friend. As we were crossing Waverley Bridge, I saw two Scottish men shouting at a woman. One of them was pushing her and trying to kiss her, and she was shouting for help.

"I told them to leave her alone or I would call the police. The man who was pushing the woman came over to me and asked where I was from. I told him I was from India and he started shouting 'b***** Indian b******' at me.

"I told him I didn't want any problems, but he couldn't do that to a woman. He kept making racial comments then he punched me on the side of the cheek. He punched me a second time and I fell to the ground.

"The other man with him came over and both of them started kicking me on the face as I was on the ground. Another three men also stood around me so my friend couldn't see what was happening."

After the assault, an ambulance took Mr Rawat to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment. He was later transferred to St John's Hospital in Livingston to undergo an operation to insert a metal plate into his jaw.

Mr Rawat said: "I was released from the hospital on Monday and I'm still in lot of pain. I have painkillers to take and I need to stay on a liquid diet. I lost my job, though, because they weren't able to give me the month off.

"It was totally a racist attack because they kept asking where I was from and shouting racist abuse. I came to Scotland last year and I've had people calling me a 'Paki', but this is the first time I've been assaulted."

The first suspect is white, 18 to 20 years old, between 5ft 6in and 5ft 7in tall with a thin build and brown hair. He was wearing a grey or white striped T-shirt, light coloured trousers and grey shoes.

The second suspect is white, 18 to 20 years old, 5ft 10in tall with a medium build and brown hair.

He was wearing a shirt with large red checks on it and blue jeans.

The woman is described only as being aged round 20 and wearing a black dress.

A police spokesman said: "This has been an appalling assault against the victim for no reason other than his race and his efforts to come to a young woman's assistance.

"We are keen to speak to anyone who was on or around Waverley Bridge at about 3.40am and may have witnessed the assault.

"Similarly, anyone who recognises the description of the suspects or who has information that can assist with our investigation should contact police immediately."