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Pak-origin families grieve over loss of sons in UK riots

August 12, 2011 - Birmingham

Bereaved families of three British nationals of Pakistani origin who were killed during the intervening periods of Tuesday and Wednesday in a run-and-hit incident in Birmingham city during UK riots, have expressed grief over their loss.

Reports suggest that a speeding vehicle hit the trio at approximately 1:30 a.m., while attempting to protect a petrol station from protestors located on Dudley Road in the city, soon after riots spread to Birmingham.

Two of the victims have been identified as Shahzad Ali (30), Haroon Jahan (21) who breathed their last soon after being admitted to a local hospital in the city.

The third victim, Abdul Musavir (30) was brought to the hospital in a critical condition and breathed his last after five hours of being admitted.

Interacting with mediapersons, an uncle of one of the deceased pleaded with the entire population of England to maintain peace and stay away from riots.

"My request to the entire community is to maintain peace and not to get involved in the riots. I also hope that peace and calm reside in the hearts of all the people living here. There is nothing positive in riots," said Yusuf Saeed, uncle of deceased Haroon Jahan.

Holding back tears, an uncle of one of the deceased expressed grief over the loss of the young men.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of these young men. Haroon (one of the deceased) was my nephew and a young kid. It is a big loss, but what can we do? We need to carry on with life, that is what I have to say," said Mushtaq, another uncle of Jahan.

Meanwhile, the local sentiment in the South Asian community is to return to normalcy amid a cloud of tension.

"I mean there is a lot of sadness, about the events that have happened so there is a degree of shock as well. But on the whole people are trying to come to terms with it and people have generally remained calm and they are trying to get back to the normal routine in life. It's difficult and our hearts go out to families to those who passed away," added Umar, a chemist shop owner.

According to media reports in Birmingham, the men had earlier confronted hooligans indulged in vandalism.

Police authorities have ordered a probe in the incident and have arrested a 35-year-old man in addition to seizing a vehicle.

According to authorities, police have arrested around 12,000 people, including 800 in London, capital of England alone.

Earlier a group of Indian retailers were attacked in London's western suburb of Southall, often referred to as Little India.

Since August 6, violent riots have broken out in several cities of England, with irate demonstrators setting buildings on fire and looting shops with brazen impunity.

The riots began in Tottenham town of north London, after a peaceful march to protest the death of 19-year-old Mark Duggan in a police shootout turned violent.

What began as a spark transformed into a blaze of violence, spreading to surrounding regions and even to cities and towns outside the capital, London.

Youth fought running battles with police in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool as well as in the Midlands overnight Tuesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said "a fightback is under way" to restore law and order to Britain's streets despite rioting, looting and arson by gangs of youths spreading from London to other cities.

The unrest poses a new challenge to Cameron as Britain's economy struggles to grow while his government slashes public spending and raises taxes to cut a yawning budget deficit - moves that some commentators say have aggravated the plight of young people in inner cities.

It also reveals to the world an ugly side of London less than a year before it hosts the 2012 Olympic Games. by Praful Kumar Singh


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