Man charged with murder after attacks on south Asian stores in London

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

LONDON, May 4, 2006 (AFP) – An unemployed man has been charged with murder after two shop workers in one of three allegedly racially motivated firebomb attacks on Asian-run convenience stores in London, police said Thursday. Robert Torto, 32, is accused of killing shopkeeper Khizar Hayat, who was originally from Pakistani Kashmir, and his employee, Afghan national Hamidi Hamidullah, in an attack on a shop in Kennington, south London, last Thursday.

He is also charged with three counts of arson with intent to endanger life in relation to the fire which claimed both men’s lives, and two separate attacks on two other stores in the locality owned by men of Sri Lankan origin. London’s Metropolitan Police said Torto would appear before magistrates later Thursday.