New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Deploring the gruesome terror attack in Nice which killed over 84 people, Henri Prevost-Allard, deputy mayor of the nearby town of Saint Tropez, said the attack is intended to instil fear in people and deter their fight against terrorism.
Allard is in India to receive a bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, which will be taken to France and installed in Saint Tropez, over a 100 km away from Nice, a popular tourist destination.
Speaking to IANS here, Allard said that the terrorists are targeting the country because it has declared war against terrorism in Syria and Iraq .
“We are in war against terrorism. We are in Syria and we are in Iraq fighting the terrorists. That’s why the terrorists are targeting us. It is a war against French people,” said Allard, a great-great-grandson of General Jean-François Allard who served as Military adviser to Maharaja Ranjit Singh from 1822 to 1839.
He also noted that the attack will damage the image of Nice as a tourist destination.
“Nice is a tourist destination. The attack might affect the tourism potential of the city. They chose a strategic day and location and it is a well-planned attack,” he said.
A terrorist sped a rented truck through a crowd of thousands enjoying Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, crushing 84 people and injuring some 150, a third of who were battling for life.
Refuting theories that the French government failed to coin inclusive policies for religious minorities, Allard attributed “disgruntled youth” as being behind the outrage.
“It happens when disgruntled youth take up arms. These are dropouts, who are not doing well in life. They take to terrorism as a way out,” he said.
Echoing Allard’s sentiments, Claude Maniscalco, director, tourism, Saint Tropez said that though France was under emergency after the Paris attack in November, attacks were difficult to anticipate. “They attacked the heart of France. This was so unexpected. But life will go on,” said Maniscalco.
He said that his niece, who was at the beach, where the attack happened is still in a state of shock.
“I was worried in the morning as I could not get through my friends and family in in Nice. Later, I spoke to my niece who was at the beach and she is in a state of shock still,” he said.
The bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be installed at Saint Tropez along with the statue of General Allard and Banu Pan Devi of Chamba between September 16-18th this year as part of Saint-Tropez’ Maharaja Ranjit Singh Tribute 2016.