Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

London attacks: IRA violence no different to this, says Docklands bomb victim

By Linda Stewart

A survivor of the IRA's 1996 Canary Wharf bombing says the London weekend attacks brought back terrible memories as he witnessed the emergency services racing to the scene.

Jonathan Ganesh, who was trapped in the rubble after the IRA atrocity, said he received many calls yesterday from fellow Canary Wharf victims in the wake of the terrorist attack on Saturday.

Seven people were killed and 48 injured in the attack, with 21 fighting for their lives in hospital.

A white van struck pedestrians on London Bridge before driving on to Borough Market.

Three men then left the vehicle and began to stab and injure people before they were shot dead by police.

The founder of the Docklands Victims Association said he had watched from his window on Saturday night as emergency services raced along the street on their way to deal with the attacks on London Bridge, about a mile away from his home.

"It's so sad and absolutely devastating," he said.

"About half past 10, I saw police vehicles and all sorts of things and I knew something was going on.

"It really brings back terrible memories, when you see flashing lights or ambulances," he added.

"I see ambulances occasionally up and down the road, but you could see this was different because they were responding to something major.

"There were too many police cars, too many ambulances, all going towards London Bridge."

Mr Ganesh said he has been getting calls from victims of the IRA bomb and they held a meeting yesterday morning.

"There is no difference between what is happening now and what the IRA did," he said.

"Some of the victims are really upset.

"We're a very close community and this really brings back the past."

Mr Ganesh was a Midland Bank security guard when the Canary Wharf bomb went off, killing two of his friends at a nearby newsagent, Inam Bashir and John Jeffries, and injuring 50 more people.

He was trapped in the rubble but still managed to help others to safety, later receiving a bravery award.

Mr Ganesh warned that politicians considering sitting down to negotiate with extremists must be very careful about the message they send to future terrorist organisations.

"Are these terrorists thinking the same thing? If we cause enough trauma, will one of the government men sit down with us and will we get the same things?" he asked.

"They have an agenda - they want to force their agenda on us, they want to achieve it. It's more important now that we don't let them achieve their agenda."

Mr Ganesh said he is disappointed that Sinn Fein has been able to condemn the weekend attacks, yet can't condemn its own actions in the 1996 bombing and the Warrington bomb.

"They are condemning that terrorism, but they've carried out the same offences and killed innocent children," he said.

"I'd like Sinn Fein to condemn everybody's actions, but condemn their own as well.

"Having been a victim myself and seeing the legacy left by terrorism, I can tell you that all terrorism is wrong."

Mr Ganesh said the government hasn't provided any money to support his group's anti-radicalisation programme.

"The way to confront this is education, coming together.

"In my opinion the government cannot do it," he said.

Mr Ganesh said his group includes Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

"I think what it illustrates is that terrorism affects everybody."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph