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MEPs trapped after flying out from by-election into Mumbai massacre

PUBLISHED: 14:24 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:50 05 October 2010

MEP Syed Kamall, canvassing at an East End mosque just before flying out to Mumbai

MEP Syed Kamall, canvassing at an East End mosque just before flying out to Mumbai

TWO of the MEPs caught up in the Mumbai massacre had just arrived in India following a local council by-election campaign in London’s East End. London Tory Syed Kamall and colleague Sirad Karim supported their candidate in Tower Hamlets last week before flying out. “I just left the hotel when the gunmen arrived,” said Syed. “One of my friends walked past the gunmen. One just looked at him, then turned and shot someone else”

Mike Brooke

TWO of the MEPs caught up in the Mumbai massacre had just arrived in India following a local council by-election campaign in London’s East End.

London Tory Syed Kamall and North of England colleague Sirad Karim were supporting the Conservative candidate in the Tower Hamlets poll at Mile End East just before the vote last Thursday.

Syed (pictured canvassing outside a mosque in Mile End) is staying at the Taj Mahal hotel with other MEPs on a trade delegation.

He is quoted in the British press as having managed to escape as the terrorists struck.

“I had just left the hotel when the gunmen arrived,” he said.

“One of my friends walked past the gunmen. One just looked at him, then turned and shot someone else. He’s in shock.

“We have been texting people trapped inside the hotel to see if they are okay.

“I think Sirad Karim is still in the hotel.”

Just a week earlier, Sirad Karim was with him in East London for the by-election.

Tower Hamlets Opposition Tory leader Peter Goulds told the East London Advertiser today: “We took them round Mile End and they visited mosques as part of the campaign.

“I have sent emails to them and their offices, but we’ve had no reply.

“It must have been dreadful for them when the terrorists started killing.

“Targeting westerners is a tragedy—we live in global world, but there are elements who wish to de-globalise, turn world into tiny pockets and prevent people travelling. Mabai is a world city by any standard.”

Syed, a family man with two sons, is due back at the weekend, but likely to be delayed by events.

He flew out to India after last Thursday’s Mile End East by-election in which Tory candidate Motiur Rahman, a 39-year-old London bus driver, came in a poor second to Labour and only scraping ahead of Respect.

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