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"Join hands to fight terrorism"

Staff Reporter

We need to learn from India, says British High Commissioner

— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

BRAVEMAN AWARD: M.S. Bitta, Chairman AIATF (second from left) along with Michael Arthur, British High Commissioner (left) and Howard J. Madnick of the U.S. presenting the Braveman Award to Muskara Bibi, wife of the late Asraf Ali (sepoy), martyr of a terrorist attack on the American Center in Kolkata, at an International Conference on Global Terrorism in New Delhi on Saturday.

NEW DELHI: Reaffirming his country's commitment to fight global terrorism, British High Commissioner Michael Arthur on Saturday said there was an urgent need for countries facing the menace to join hands. "The key hallmarks of Britain and India are multi-cultural plurality. It is necessary to cherish these virtues. Islam is a peace-loving religion and Muslim leaders in our country have extended full support to our Government's commitment to eliminate terrorism. We also need to learn from India, which with its Sufism and 150 million-strong Muslim population, has shown how to live in peaceful co-existence," said Sir Michael, delivering the keynote address at the `International Conference on Global Terrorism' on the eve of the World Anti-Terrorism Day at Vigyan Bhavan here.

Sir Michael said that after the recent attacks in London, the British Government had decided to take anti-terrorist measures like deporting those inciting people to commit acts of violence in the name of religion, besides taking criminal action against British nationals indulging in terrorism.

"There was a debate going on in our society whether deportation of those indulging in terrorism or masterminding them was an infringement on civil liberties. But as our Prime Minister Tony Blair said, there were certain obligations that need to be fulfilled," he said.

President of the All-India Anti-Terrorism Front (AIATF) L.M. Singhvi said terrorism was not confined to Jammu and Kashmir, North-East India, Chechnya and the United States, but was prevalent across the globe.

"We must exorcise terrorism. We are already in the midst of an undeclared Third World War. Terrorism is depriving mankind of values of our civilisation and it is a great violation of human rights," said Dr. Singhvi.

Others who addressed the gathering included Ambassadors, High Commissioners, diplomats and representatives of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa, United States, Egypt, Nepal and Philippines. The former Director-General of Punjab Police, K.P.S. Gill, and chairman of AIATF M.S. Bitta presented `Brave Man Awards' to widows and victims of terrorist attacks.

Maskura Bibi, widow of Ashraf Ali who was killed during the terrorist attack at American Center in Kolkata in 2002, said: "After finishing his duty at the American Center, my husband who was in the 5th battalion of the Kolkata Armed Police, was getting into the police van when terrorists fired six bullets at him. Four bullets entered his stomach, while the other two hit him on his leg and hand. Despite so many grievous injuries, he survived for nine days at the S.S.K.M Hospital. He was conscious then, but finally succumbed to his injuries," Ms. Bibi said.

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