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UK looters targeting Indian areas

For the first time, the looting that has swept London for three days hit suburbs with large Indian populations on Tuesday, with gangs attempting to break into Indian-owned shops on un-policed streets. Dipankar De Sarkar reports.

world Updated: Aug 10, 2011 02:25 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

For the first time, the looting that has swept London for three days hit suburbs with large Indian populations on Tuesday, with gangs attempting to break into Indian-owned shops on un-policed streets.

Disturbances and looting were reported from Wembley, Kingsbury and Ealing - three areas with substantial Indian-origin communities.

Early on Tuesday morning, a gang of 14 smashed into two family-owned jewellery stores in Kingsbury, a northwest London neighbourhood that is home to a thousands of Gujaratis. The owner of one of the shops, Mansukh Bhagwan Ram, said the men broke their way in but ran off after tripping the alarm.

One man was arrested after the gang of hooded youths was caught on CCTV camera gathering around the shop just after 3 a.m and wrenching the steel shutter open. They then smashed the front door to enter the premises of Bhagwanji Ram & Sons Jewellers, a well-known 30-year-old establishment.

"I don't think we lost anything but we want see more policing for Indian jewellery shops," Ram said. However, the second shop reportedly suffered losses, and all jewellery stores in Kingsbury downed shutters in response.

"Where are the police?" asked Anusuya Dhaka, a visitor from Mumbai. "We hear a lot about Scotland Yard in India, but I don't see any of them here in Kingsbury." Police shut down the underground train station at neighbouring Harrow-on-the-Hill on Monday night.