Indian-origin MPs in Britain stand by India, flay ‘cowardly attack’ (Lead)

November 27th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 27 (IANS) Leading politicians representing Britain’s large Indian-origin population Thursday strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, saying the two countries are even more determined to protect their vibrant and resilient democracies. As British television news channels rolled out round-the-clock coverage of the attacks, a string of MPs telephoned IANS Wednesday night to speak of their shock and sense of outrage.

These leaders are among MPs who represent an Indian-origin community of well over a million - the largest ethnic minority group in Britain.

Many of their Indian-origin constituents have strong family and commercial ties to Mumbai, but India’s commercial capital has also drawn thousands of other Britons with its thriving business and culture.

Keith Vaz, Britain’s most senior Indian-origin MP spoke for the community saying: “This is a devastating situation and we all condemn those who perpetrated the attacks.”

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with India in resisting such acts of barbarism,” said Vaz, whose Leicester East constituency in southeast England is known as Little India, for its large number of Indian-origin population.

Former minister Barry Gardiner wrote to Indian High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Mukherjee saying “all of India’s friends stand strongly by the side of India’s people in sympathy for her suffering, in condemnation of her cowardly enemies and in readiness to act with her to combat terrorism in all its forms.”

“India will not be bowed, democracy will not be defeated. Justice and the rule of law will prevail,” added Gardiner, whose Brent North constituency includes more than 50,000 people of Indian origin.

MPs dashed off individual messages of support and solidarity with India as the British parliament has prorogued until the middle of the next week, and is therefore unable to issue a collective condemnation.

Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing and Punjabi-majority Southall, said the attacks were targeted at the “basic fabric of India - secularism and tolerance.”

“The people of the UK reject terrorism and any kind of violence and will stand by the people of India. India and Britain - two of the largest democracies in the world - are under a common attack,” Sharma added.

Lord Khalid Hameed, a prominent inter-faith champion, spoke for the upper house of parliament saying the perpetrators of the attacks “are murderers, and the only response is to throw the entire majesty of law at them.”

“These terrorists are not representatives of any faith - certainly not Islam, which condemns such violence completely, totally and comprehensively,” said Hameed, a Padma Shri recipient.

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