Violence was unprecedented, says Indian leader in Britain

New Delhi: A councillor in London’s Southall, also known as Little India, said he had never seen such large scale violence in recent years.

“There is calm in Southall now,” councillor Surinder Verma said from London. Southall is part of the London borough of Ealing and home to a large number of Indians.

Verma, who has been living in Britain for the past 40 years, said he last witnessed such violence in 1981.

“But, the violence now was on a much larger scale,” he said.

Violence erupted in London over the fatal shooting of a man by police and quickly spread to other cities in Britain. London, which is to stage the Olympic Games next year, saw shops being looted and buildings set afire for four consecutive days. While the British capital has become relatively peaceful, unrest gripped other cities.

Over a million Indians are estimated to be living in Britain where riots singed some cities, claiming the lives of at least three South Asians.

When the violence spread in London and threatened Southall, over 700 Sikhs armed with swords and hockey sticks guarded their gurdwara.

The Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara on Havelock Road, Southall is the largest gurdwara outside India.

The Sikh men – some in their 80s – took to the streets to protect their homes, businesses and places of worship in Southall area. By Rahul Dass