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‘Nothing Can Break the Unity of Mancunians’

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As a Mancunian, I love this city. As a doctor I know the pulse and pain of this city. My heart goes out to the victims and their families in Manchester, the beloved city I love. I lived and worked here throughout my professional life. Manchester has seen terrorist acts before. But no act of terror can shake the strength and resilience of Mancunians. A special column by Dr Kailash Chand, one of the senior most GPs of Indian-origin and former deputy chair of BMA council

Greater Manchester, home to around half a million people is one of Britain’s most diverse cities, with around 14% of the population in central Manchester with an Asian background. I would like to applaud Asian community living and working in Manchester who immediately came to the support of those caught up in the terror attack.  This ranged from taxi drivers who drove people away from the danger to our Gurdwaras, temples and mosques who opened their doors to help strangers.

The cowardly terrorist in Manchester arena, just like those before it in various parts of the world, demonstrate that terrorism does not discriminate by race, ethnicity or region. Instead, terrorists
indiscriminately target those seeking to live a peaceful, loving and free life.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham with Dr Kailash Chand

Healthcare staff responded to the incident with courage and humanity, putting the needs of patients above their own. Their professionalism is a credit to them, I salute their dedication and professionalism. Sixty ambulances were dispatched to the scene of the attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night within minutes of the attack, which killed 22 people and injured more than 50.
‘Local hospitals in Manchester were flooded with the injured. The injured were treated at eight hospitals across the city.  I pay tribute to the police and emergency services who have worked valiantly to save lives. At this tragic time you want the NHS and emergency services to be at their best, and we are proud that but for them, the losses would have been much greater.’

The popular image of a war hero is that of a rifle- or machine gun-wielding police officer or a fighter pilot. It’s high time that the image of a gentle physician with a stethoscope or a surgeon with a scalpel, carrying out awe-inspiring feats of courage, is equally recognised. My heart goes out to the victims and their families in Manchester, the city I love and have lived and worked in all my life. Manchester has seen terrorist acts before, no act of terror can shake the strength and resilience of Mancunians.

It was good to see Manchester mayor Andy Burnham visiting hospitals and thanking the NHS workers and police who ‘worked through the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable’. His speech articulated eloquently how we all felt.”This was an evil act. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured. And we will do whatever we can to support them. We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked throughout the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable”.
In the wake of the attacks there are concerns about a potential backlash against certain communities. I have been receiving messages from parents in India to reiterate to their children in the city the need to be cautious about potential retributive attacks. Hate crimes have already been a concern in the city and surrounding areas, as they have across the UK in recent months, Andy Burnham, recognises that and has  stressed the need for “hope not hate” to tackle the region’s challenges, and would implement zero tolerance policy on hate crime. Manchester has seen terrorist acts before, no act of terror can shake the strength and resilience of Mancunians. The menace of the terrorism has to be tackled, once for all, this struggle will require vigilance, perseverance, unity and sacrifice for many years to come.