Victims of London Bridge attack discharged from hospital

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Tributes to victims are seen on London Bridge in London, Britain December 2, 2019. (Reuters)
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A couple place a bouquet of flowers on London Bridge in memory of the victims of last weeks attack in central London on December 2, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2019

Victims of London Bridge attack discharged from hospital

  • “Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who sadly lost their lives and all those who have been impacted,” Dr. Vin Diwakar said
  • The court ruled that the joint enterprise law had been misinterpreted

LONDON: Three people injured in the London Bridge attack have been sent home after receiving medical treatment as more details emerged on the stabbings.
Dr. Vin Diwakar, medical director for the National Health Service in London, said Friday that the victims of the attack were recovering and that the last patient had been discharged.
“Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who sadly lost their lives and all those who have been impacted,” he said.
Usman Khan stabbed two people to death and injured three others on Nov. 29 before being shot and killed by police on the bridge. Khan had been attending a conference on prisoner rehabilitation when he attacked Cambridge University graduates Saskia Jones, 23 and Jack Merritt, 25.
As the injured recovered, some of those who subdued him began to speak out. John Crilly, a former prisoner who used a fire extinguisher to corner Khan together with other bystanders, lamented Merritt’s death in a Facebook post, describing him as the “the best guy I ever met.”
“(Jack) was killed by a ... a pathetic rubber dingy rapids type terrorist,” Crilly wrote. “Jack actually tried helping this guy! To educate him. As he educated me.”
Crilly’s conviction in the slaying of 71-year-old Augustine Maduemezia, was quashed by the Supreme Court last year. The court ruled that the joint enterprise law — in which defendants were prosecuted for murder even if they did not strike the fatal blow — had been misinterpreted.
The 48-year-old studied for an Open University law degree while in prison and graduated this year.
“I had a bad life, I’ve changed it, I wasn’t guilty of murder,” Crilly said after his release. “I totally accept what I did and it was wrong.”


A tale of two cities: Project aims to retell lost stories from Lahore, Delhi

Updated 7 min 49 sec ago

A tale of two cities: Project aims to retell lost stories from Lahore, Delhi

  • Will give migrants a virtual tour of their childhood towns and homes torn apart by partition of 1947

NEW DELHI: Sparsh Ahuja and Ameena Malak grew up listening to their grandparents narrate stories of the partition from 1947.
Ahuja’s grandfather, Ishar Das Arora, was 7 years old when the Indian subcontinent was divided into two by the British, creating India and Pakistan. 
More than 14 million people were displaced at the time, and about one million perished in the fighting that followed.
Arora moved from a Pakistani village, named Bela, to Delhi after living in several refugee camps and escaping the violence.
Meanwhile, Malak’s grandfather, Ahmed Rafiq, moved from the Indian city of Hoshiarpur to Pakistan’s Lahore.
Now in their 70s, both the grandparents yearn to go back home and see the places where they were born and spent their childhoods. 
However, the constant uncertainty in the relationship between India and Pakistan and their old age has made the task of visiting their respective birthplaces extremely difficult.
To fulfill the wishes of their grandparents, and several others who yearn to visit their ancestral homelands, Ahuja and Malak decided to launch Project Dastaan (story).
“What started as an idea for a student project last year at Oxford University became a larger peace-building venture,” Ahuja, the director of the project, said.
Project Dastaan is a university-backed virtual reality (VR) peace-building initiative reconnecting displaced survivors of partition with their childhood through bespoke 360-degree digital experiences.
Backed by the South Asia Programme at Oxford, it uses VR headsets to give these migrants, who are often over 80 years old, a virtual tour of their childhood towns and homes. It shows them the people and places they most want to see again by finding the exact locations and memories that the survivors seek to revisit, and recreates them.
“It is a creative effort to start a new kind of conversation based on the direct experience of a now-foreign country in the present, rather than relying upon records and memories from the past,” Ahuja told Arab News.
He added that Pakistan-based Khalid Bashir Rai “teared up after his VR experience, and told us we had transported him back” to his childhood.
“At its heart, the project is a poignant commentary on its own absurdity. By taking these refugees back we are trying to highlight the cultural impact of decades of divisive foreign policy and sectarian conflict on the subcontinent. This is a task for policymakers, not university students. In an ideal world, a project like this shouldn’t exist,” Ahuja said.
Other members of Project Dastaan — Saadia Gardezi and Sam Dalrymple — have a connection with partition, too. Gardezi grew up with partition stories; her grandmother volunteered at refugee camps in Lahore, and her grandfather witnessed terrible violence as a young man.
Dalrymple’s grandfather had been a British officer in India during the twilight years of the British Empire. So scarred was he by the partition that he never visited Dalrymple’s family in Delhi, even after 30 years of them living there.
“I think Dastaan is ultimately about stripping away the layers of politics and trying to solve a very simple problem: That children forced to leave their homes, have never been able to go back again,” Dalrymple told Arab News.
Ahuja added: “The partition projects are a peace offering in the heart of hostility. It is an attempt at creating a wider cultural dialogue between citizens and policymakers of the three countries.”
The project aims to reconnect 75 survivors of the partition of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with their childhood memories, when the subcontinent observes 75 years of partition in 2022.
Project Dastaan is also producing a documentary called “Child of Empire” that will put viewers in the shoes of a 1947 partition migrant, and will be shown at film festivals and museums.