Violence in Stockholm suburbs: Indians affected

Stockholm, May 22 (IANS) More than 40 Indian families in densely populated Stockholm suburbs are worried over explosive protests in the past week, which one Indian immigrant described as “unusually fearome”.

The ongoing crisis appears to have been triggered by police action which led to the death of a violent, 69-year old armed immigrant in an apartment in Husby earlier last week. He allegedly threatened the police with a machete when they attempted to overpower him.

Claiming that police had deliberately killed the man, large groups of youngsters, armed with weapons including petrol-filled flasks, went on a rampage in the centre of Husby, burning a number of vehicles and smashing windows all around the square.

When the police arrived, they were repulsed with showers of stones and bottles. Even reinforcements proved incapable of containing the violence. e locals remained shut in their flats, not daring to step out in the evenings.

Arun Singh, an Indian immigrant of many years, told IANS over telephone: “We (family of four) are long-time residents in Husby. Although we are used to sporadic ethnic violence here, this is unusually fearome. We dare not leave our residence.”

It is estimated that there are about 14,500 persons of Indian origin and about 4,000 Indian nationals living in Sweden.

Awad Hersi, a Somali councillor of the Husby municipal council, told IANS: “The events taking place here are part of a long-festering disenchantment among the immigrants here; particularly among the new generations who neither know the old values nor have acquired any new values.”

“…They are vastly unemployed with no hope for getting any. Most among those that have any employment work illegally. These are the root causes that ferment todays uprising.”

The densely immigrant-inhabited surburbs of Stocholm, Husby, Tensta and Rinkeby, notoriously labelled the Stockhom ghettos for their massively polyethnic ways of living, have been in a state of explosive protests since last Sunday, the latest among such erruptions.

Over 40 Indian families — and even more from Bangladesh and Pakistan — have been established here for a long time.

According to a UNICEF report, the suburbs house no less than 120 ethnicities that speak even more languages. The highly segregated communities have high levels of unemployment that result in constant violence.

The violence is exacerbated by the customs and habits that each people have brought along with them. They refuse to relinquish it, rendering it well nigh impossible to achieve any degree of integration with the society they have sought to merge into.

(Alfred de Tavares can be contacted at [email protected])

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