Indian-origin MPs who were inside the British parliament and were caught up in the aftermath of Wednesday’s terror attack called for unity among communities on Thursday as Prime Minister Theresa May and Scotland Yard linked the attack to “Islamist-related terrorism”.
Proceedings of the House were suspended soon after the attack, and nearly 400 MPs and others were told not to leave the building until it was safe. Among those MPs confined to a chamber were Indian-origin Labour MPs Keith Vaz, Valerie Vaz, Virendra Sharma and Seema Malhotra, and Conservative MP Shailesh Vara .
The picturesque area of Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, the parliament and the London Eye - the scene of the terror attack - has been a major attraction for Indian tourists, among others, but there were no reports of Indian casualties so far.
Sharma asked people not to jump to conclusions about the attacker and called for peace, unity and cooperation.
He said: “Yesterday a brave Police officer ran towards danger to protect the public and lost his life. I want to praise PC Keith Palmer’s sacrifice along with the hard work and professionalism of all the security staff yesterday. I would also like to thank Tobias Ellwood, my friend and colleague, for doing what he could to try and save the life of PC Palmer.”
“Many men and women lie injured in hospital after this contemptible act, and two people are dead from the attack on Westminster Bridge. While the facts of what truly happened are still unfolding I would encourage everyone to carry on with their lives, as Londoners have done for centuries.”
“We must not jump to conclusions, we must not sink to the level of people who hate us, we must stand together as a community not apart and not scared, unbent and unbowed,” he said.
Conservative Vara participated in a debate after May made a statement in the House of Commons on the attack. The attacker, he said, showed an ideology which “is an evil that seeks to destroy a way of life across the globe”.
Malhotra tweeted: “Could not be more grateful for our amazing police and security forces. You take such risks to keep us safe and are true heroes.”