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7/7 survivor shares story with Whitechapel students ahead of terror attack’s 13th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 July 2018

7/7 terror attack survivor Sudhesh Dahad speaks to sixth form students at Swanlea School in Whitechapel. Pic: KEN MEARS

7/7 terror attack survivor Sudhesh Dahad speaks to sixth form students at Swanlea School in Whitechapel. Pic: KEN MEARS

Archant

A survivor of one Britain’s deadliest terror attacks has shared his story with school pupils almost 13 years to the day his life changed forever.

Sudhesh Dahad talking to students at Swanlea School about surviving the 7/7 attacks in London.Sudhesh Dahad talking to students at Swanlea School about surviving the 7/7 attacks in London.

Sudhesh Dahad had just squeezed onto the front carriage of a Picadilly Line train at King’s Cross Station on his way to work when a bomb exploded on July 7 2005.

Mr Dahad – speaking to about 50 sixth form students from Swanlea School in Brady Street, Whitechapel yesterday – said he heard a popping sound before it went dark.

“I didn’t know what was going on. My first thought was that I was dreaming or having a nightmare. Then it felt like some kind of after-life and we had gone to heaven or hell.

“All you could see were lights from mobile phones and people screaming, calling for help.”

Sixth formers, who would have been toddlers at the time of the attacks, watch a news report broadcast after the 7/7 bombings. Pic: KEN MEARSSixth formers, who would have been toddlers at the time of the attacks, watch a news report broadcast after the 7/7 bombings. Pic: KEN MEARS

The former analyst remembered passing through the driver’s cabin and treading carefully through the blackened tunnel afraid of stepping onto live tracks.

When he finally emerged he made his way back to King’s Cross believing he was uninjured. Eight years later doctors identified a back injury.

He recalled pedestrians walking straight past victims even though their clothes were torn and hair on end, making them look like zombies. He made his way to hospital but was discharged. Though there weren’t many physical scars, the mental trauma continues today.

“The biggest fear for me is that I have a child. What would happen to her if something happened?” he told the pupils listening in complete silence.

“It helps me telling the story. It still has a lasting impact. I only use the tube as a last resort. I’m much more risk averse than I was before. But on the other hand I can be quite daring when crossing roads. It lends you almost an invincibility, I survived a terrorist attack,” he said.

Asked by a student if he could forgive the men whose bomb attacks killed 52 and injured more than 700, Mr Dahad said forgiveness doesn’t come into it.

“I don’t feel anger towards anybody particularly. I feel some anger towards people but that’s more political,” he said.

He added the attack had made him more tolerant of other religions.

Speaking after the talk, organised by charity Since 9/11, sixth former Anjuma Anbia, 17, said: “It made me ask why people commit terror attacks.

“If you want to spread a message it needs to be done in a better way.”

Fellow student Nazim Hoque, 17, added: “This has opened up my eyes more. It’s taught me not to take life for granted.”

Since 9/11 boss Liam Duffy said it was important atrocities are not remembered as dates or statistics, but for the people who have to live with the burden of being affected by an attack, or who lost a loved one.

“We hope hearing these stories will stay with the young people for a very long time,” he said.

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