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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

World

UK’s Indian-origin councillor in trouble over AK-47 Twitter photo
Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times
London, March 31, 2014
First Published: 23:23 IST(31/3/2014)
Last Updated: 01:46 IST(1/4/2014)

An Indian-origin councillor in the East Midlands city of Derby is at the centre of a row over a photo that shows him holding an AK-47 rifle, sparking demands for his resignation and his party, the Liberal Democrats, launching an investigation.

Ajit Atwal, who is also a magistrate, said he had posed for the photo during his visit to India in September. He has since apologised but insisted that he will not resign, and claimed that demands to resign were politically motivated before the May local elections.

The photo was posted on his Twitter page for months, and has now been taken down after the photo and demands for his resignation hit the headlines in the local and national press.

Paul Bayliss (Labour), Derby City Council leader, said the photograph showed “an appalling lack of judgement” on Atwal’s part, and added: “I think Ajit Atwal should stand down from his role as both a city councillor and a magistrate”.

Responding to the row, Atwal said: “I realise that the picture may cause offence to some people and so I have removed it”.

He added: “It has been my profile picture on my Twitter page for seven months and no-one has complained during that time. But now, in the run-up to an election on May 22, someone has told the press about it. I am absolutely convinced that whoever has done this has done so for political reasons.” A spokesman for the Derbyshire police said it had been made aware of the existence of the photograph.


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