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Three stabbings in Ilford leave local people soul searching

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Image taken outside Seven Kings Station only hours after the attack.

An attack by one group of young Sikh men on another in Ilford left 3 dead corpses and a frightened community in its aftermath, making national news. frightened people assumed it was a gang-related incident, but the reality of the attack is that it was an alcohol-fuelled personal grudge between two groups of people with a financial argument.

Juliet Chowdhry, who delivers her youngest child to one of the local Christian schools in the area has been providing advice and counsel to some of the affected communities. In particular one of the families that Juliet has been helping was sharing a home with a man involved in the attack. The now murderer is described as being a hard-working young man who came to England to help support his family back home in India escape extreme poverty. Though a Sikh he had not been ritually baptised and did not carry a Kirpaan (holy knife) and it is important to highlight this as to date no knife attack on UK soil has ever involved a Kirpaan.

On the night of the attack all five men had been heavily drinking alcohol and had set out to get back money that was owed to them for building work they had undertaken. It is believed that the three men were not legally resident in the UK and were being exploited. The workers took kitchen knives with them to threaten the men who gave them work but by egging each other on before the attack they went beserk and murdered their two targets with multiple stabbings in a sickening frenzy.

One of the murderers eventually ran back to his home but after seeing the blood on his hands and clothes the husband of the woman Juliet has been counselling refused entry to the shared home and called the police. The murderer left but before doing so had placed his hands on the counselled family’s door and vehicle implicating them in a crime. When local police saw the blood they allowed the young children to go to school, impounded the counselled families vehicle as they put it through forensic investigation and they quizzed the husband and wife for several hours. The mother was able to collect her children on time and did not know how to explain things to her children so Juliet put the mother in touch with the headteacher to ensure that the children received professional attention.

It is important to explain the family has no complaints with the necessary police procedure but the whole debacle left them shaken and disturbed. The family and BACA are grateful for the wonderful service provided by local Met Police who made several community visits to reassure people.

It was disturbing to read about the initial concerns people had about the attack being linked to local drug-crime especially county-lines gangs (click here). Though it would seem there are serious concerns about drug dealing in the area this attack most certainly was not. However, that does not mean that we should not find a solution to local drug concerns, but on this occasion the crime relates to a need to control the consumption of alcohol. These men had gone out the night before at a local venue named Krystels a venue with a notorious reputation for the spillage of inebriated people on to local streets, many of whom commit anti-social behaviour. They also have a history of violent gun crime - here is a news story on one such attack (click here).

The men who were involved in the attack had had a drunken brawl the night before and chose to meet up the next day to resolve matters. Though Krystels cannot be blamed for the fight the next day before, just how much of a trigger was the drunken brawl, perhaps terminating sales of alcohol to already inebriated clients should be more rigorously enforced in all licensed venues.

These men had all been sharing their arguments with friends and colleagues for some time. It is quite amazing how many people knew about the outstanding debt owed to the building workers. Yet instead of intervening on their behalf they allowed the hatred to fester despite some of the men being devout Sikhs who would have at least listened to religious leaders.

Moreover the exploitation of illegal immigrants is a growing concern. There are many migrant Sikh men that await pick-up along High Road Ilford every morning. These men work hard hours for a pittance and of course will become irate when not paid for work done. They have no legal recourse to obtain owed payments and it is easy to see how when push come to shove they can lose their sanity momentarily resulting in extreme violence. More has to be done to protect such vulnerable people including legalising hard-working migrants who have been her for some time, after all their taxes will benefit our economy and such status prevents exploitation. At the same time we must preserve our borders more vigorously so that opportunities for exploitation reduce and to protect ourselves from extremism and an increasing black market.

Two men involved in the stabbings have been apprehended. They are murderers and deserve the full weight of the law. No doubt they will be deported on completion of very long sentences. These men have lost their futures because of a rash decision and a lack of supportive vehicles. They have caused their friends, families, and a community sorrow and anguish and now have to pay for the consequences of their violent knife crime. Knife crime is a pervading social malaise and has many and varied root-causes. Hannah Chowdhry wrote about this last year (click here). More work has to begin around knife crime as London has become synonomous with this despised violent act. We must be vigilant as communities to report what we see and are all responsible for making sure the next generation do not make the same mistakes as our generation. Hannah has begun a monthly non-alcoholic bar for teenagers where community leaders can interface and act as positive role models to teenagers (click here).  We will be writing to the Mayor of London again to drive home our message that the eradication of knives from our streets is of paramount importance - people need to feel safe again. 
Media groups have not confirmed whether any of the 5 Sikh men where illegal immigrants but we have been informed that some at least were. Neither did media groups raise concerns about the violent history of Krystels Banqueting which has a notable history of gun crime and antisocial behaviour. Juliet Chowdhry was sent a video of the actual attack and not the aftermath of the attack and we have shared that with local police. The brutal attack was extremely severe and we ask that you pray for the BACA team who are often affected by the extreme violence they have seen.

BACA's local community centre serves the most deprived community in Redbridge.  Please help us continue our varied charitabkle services to local people by donating towards the maintenance of the centre (here)

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