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London terror attack area popular with Indian tourists

The Indian high commission said there was no information of any Indian affected by the attack in which Scotland Yard confirmed that seven people were killed and 48 injured.

world Updated: Jun 04, 2017 22:01 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Armed police officers arrive at The Shard in the London Bridge quarter in London on Sunday, following a terror attack.
Armed police officers arrive at The Shard in the London Bridge quarter in London on Sunday, following a terror attack. (AFP)

The area struck by terror on Saturday night – London Bridge and the Borough Market – is popular among Indian tourists who join thousands from other countries and Britons to relax and enjoy the many culinary and other delights it offers.

The Indian high commission said there was no information of any Indian affected by the attack in which Scotland Yard confirmed that seven people were killed and 48 injured. Three assailants were shot dead as armed police neutralised them within eight minutes of the attack.

Sunil Chopra, senior Labour councillor in the London borough of Southwark where the terror attack occurred, told Hindustan Times: “I have lived here over 37 years and have never seen such scenes. I am sure it won’t stop us from carrying on as normal”.

“I am sure it won’t stop us from carrying on as normal”, said Sunil Chopra, senior Labour councillor in the London borough of Southwark where the terror attack occurred.

“I have seen ever more Indian tourists coming to London Bridge, Borough market and my borough over the years, relaxing and enjoying. So far there is no information of any Indian affected; the borough has about 2% of people of Indian origin”, Chopra, the New Delhi-origin former lord mayor of Southwark, added.

An Indian tourist, who identified himself as Ajay to The Guardian, was on holiday with his wife and two children aged nine and 14. He said his family had abandoned plans to visit Manchester because of the attack on the Ariana Grande concert but were staying at a hotel close to where Saturday night’s attack happened.

They were in a pizzeria on Borough High Street on what was supposed to be the last day of their holiday when panic erupted around them.

He told the paper: “We were just sitting having a pizza by the window. We saw a lot of police vehicles, we went out to see what was going on and we heard gunshots. At first we thought it was firecrackers, people celebrating the match (the Champions League final) but then we saw people running and ran into our hotel.”

The family was supposed to fly back to India on Sunday morning, but was unable to retrieve their luggage from their hotel, which fell within the police cordon thrown after the attack.

Ajay said: “We were supposed to go to Manchester then didn’t because of the attack there. I can’t believe it’s happened in London, it makes me feel numb. I’m from India and you’re used to this type of thing but I thought London was the best, safest place for a holiday.”

Southwark council leader Peter John said: “This was a pointless and horrific attack which has caused real and great harm but will achieve nothing. Our immediate concern is helping those displaced by last night’s incidents, and we have set up a rest centre with colleagues from the British Red Cross on hand to offer support and assistance”.

"Just one attack of this sort is devastating, but as a city and a country we have suffered far too much in recent months. Southwark is an amazing borough and we are strongest when we stand together, support one another, and choose unity in the face of hatred.”