FAm­ily feAr for lives Af­ter Ar­son At­tAck

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy joel.lamy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

A city coun­cil­lor be­lieves the lives of his fam­ily was put at risk by a po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated ar­son at­tack at his home. Azher Iqbal was in Kash­mir when the blaze was started in Atkin­son Street, Fen­gate which po­lice said was ar­son with in­tent to en­dan­ger life.

Rel­a­tives of the Con­ser­va­tive mem­ber­forEast­war­dare now fear­ing a re­peat at­tack.

Cllr Iqbal be­lieves the at­tack on his car in the early hours of Tues­day last week, which spread to his home, was be­cause of his “views and ac­tiv­i­ties.”

He said: “We do not ex­pect these sorts of things in the UK, it’s a very lib­eral so­ci­ety. This is re­ally wor­ry­ing me.”

Cllr Iqbal said be­fore May’s lo­cal elec­tions peo­ple had made “deroga­tory and threat­en­ing” Face­book com­ments over a pic­ture of him with Peter­bor­ough MP Ste­wart Jack­son and then Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May, and he claimed leaflets call­ing him a racist have also been dis­trib­uted.

Cllr Iqbal said the­p­o­lice re­sponse to both in­ci­dents was “very light.”

Cllr Iqbal’s fa­ther-in-law Bakhsh Elahi, one of five peo­ple in the house at the time of the at­tack, said: “Who­ever came wants to kill us.

“I hear out­side this bomb blast and I look and there’s a fire bomb. The­car is burn­ing.

“Of­courseI’mvery­wor­ried [about a re­peat at­tack].”

Cllr Iqbal’s sis­ter-in-law Tayyaba Bibi said the fam­ily were wait­ing to hear back from the po­lice. She added: “My mum is in a de­pres­sion. She said she won’t go out­side be­cause they want to kill her.

“Weareverysim­plepeo­ple and sud­denly this is hap­pen­ing. The­p­o­lice­need­to­cometo us and tell us noth­ing is go­ing to hap­pen next time.”

The­fam­ily are also in­debt­edto a neigh­bour who­rushed out with a fire ex­tin­guisher to put out the flames.

A Cam­bridgeshire po­lice spokes­woman said the po­lice had made con­tact with the fam­ily on Mon­day and are car­ry­ing out a num­ber of en­quiries, in­clud­ing house-to­house vis­its.

She added: “At this time a motive for the of­fence is un­clear. We take all re­ports of crime, in­clud­ing hate crime, very se­ri­ously and, where we are able to, will in­ves­ti­gate all op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call po­lice on 101.

Cllr Azher Iqbal (left) and Bakhsh Elahi, Zanaib Bibi and daugh­ter Tayyaba Bibi out­side the home in Atkin­son Street where the ar­son at­tack took place

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