Family fear for lives after arson attack

A city councillor believes the lives of his family was put at risk by a politically-motivated arson attack at his home.

Friday, 5th August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:17 pm
Mr Bakhsh Elahi, Mrs Zanaib Bibi and daughter Tayyaba Bibi outside their home at Atkinson Street which was subject to an arson attack EMN-160108-193503009

Azher Iqbal was in Kashmir when the blaze was started in Atkinson Street, Fengate which police said was arson with intent to endanger life.

Relatives of the Conservative member for East ward are now fearing a repeat attack.

Cllr Iqbal believes the attack on his car in the early hours of Tuesday last week, which spread to his home, was because of his “views and activities.”

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He said: “We do not expect these sorts of things in the UK, it’s a very liberal society. This is really worrying me.”

Cllr Iqbal said before May’s local elections people had made “derogatory and threatening” Facebook comments over a picture of him with Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and then Home Secretary Theresa May, and he claimed leaflets calling him a racist have also been distributed.

Cllr Iqbal said the police response to both incidents was “very light.”

Cllr Iqbal’s father-in-law Bakhsh Elahi, one of five people in the house at the time of the attack, said: “Whoever came wants to kill us.

City Elections 14 at Kingsgate. Azher Iqbal with his East supporters EMN-140523-085540009

“I hear outside this bomb blast and I look and there’s a fire bomb. The car is burning.

“Of course I’m very worried [about a repeat attack].”

Cllr Iqbal’s sister-in-law Tayyaba Bibi said the family were waiting to hear back from the police. She added: “My mum is in a depression. She said she won’t go outside because they want to kill her.

“We are very simple people and suddenly this is happening. The police need to come to us and tell us nothing is going to happen next time.”

The family are also indebted to a neighbour who rushed out with a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said the police had made contact with the family on Monday and are carrying out a number of enquiries, including house-to-house visits.

She added: “At this time a motive for the offence is unclear. We take all reports of crime, including hate crime, very seriously and, where we are able to, will investigate all opportunities to bring those responsible to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.

City Elections 14 at Kingsgate. Azher Iqbal with his East supporters EMN-140523-085540009