No backlash fears, Indians in UK play down incident

The detained Indian doctors are being regarded as three individuals rather than three Indians, reports Vijay Dutt.
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Updated on Jul 12, 2007 04:20 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByVijay Dutt, London

The arrest of three Indian doctors for their alleged role in the foiled terror attacks in Britain has shocked many, but there has been no backlash against the Indian community. The detainees are being regarded as three individuals rather than three Indians.

“The British people have known Indians for long,” said Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. “They have the commonsense to realise that one isolated episode of terror has nothing to do with Indian doctors per se.”

Nor did he feel that the emigration of Indian doctors to Britain would be curbed further. “As it is, hardly any doctor can come now because of the new immigration laws. But those who are here are being treated on par with any English doctor.”

“All my patients continue to come to me. But it is worrying that these three doctors came from India,” said Dr Murli Sinha, who has been working in Birmingham, which has a large Muslim population, for the past 35 years.

“Most Indian doctors, nurses and teachers are hired by agencies which are not required to report the recruitments to the British government or Indian High Commission,” said an Indian professor, who preferred anonymity. “This must stop and everyone coming here should be required to register.”

“Some Pakistanis were happy that India’s clean slate so far has been besmirched,” said Southall resident Krishna Bhatia. “But otherwise there is no reaction."

“If such incidents recur, Indians will be regarded and treated the way people from certain other countries are,” said Prem Kharbanda, a Birmingham businessman. “This won’t cause a problem since it is an isolated case.”

There are a few dissenting voices. Nalini Mehat, floor manager for a chain of superstores, was disturbed. “Old white ladies who come to our stores ask how come Indians were caught in terror acts. I find it difficult to explain.”

Professor Bhupendra Jasani summed up, “There is no anti-Indian feeling here. But I worry for India if it can produce young men like these.”

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