A SHOCKING video captures the moment when a decent, hardworking Blackburn resident was on the receiving end of verbal abuse after raising concerns over a group of Labour Councillors breaking social distancing rules.
The city of Blackburn has particularly suffered during the Coronavirus pandemic, with a large asian community whom statistics show have experienced a higher rate of infection and mortality.
Driven by the recent Delta variant, as of this month Blackburn with Darwen currently now tops the list for Covid-19 cases in the UK after overtaking Bolton.
This week, local resident Murad Hussain was travelling through the city when he spotted his local councillor, Mafooz Hussain (of no relation to Murad), among a crowd of Councillors who were demonstrably ignoring the 2 metre social distancing rule.
Murad, who is widely respected within the community for his selfless dedication to helping vulnerable locals, is also a volunteer undertaker – giving up his time and emotional wellbeing to prepare the many bodies of those who have sadly died during the pandemic for funeral.
“It was around 1:30pm in the heart of the asian community, where Covid’s hit the hardest, when I spotted them” Murad told VoteWatch. “I was shocked and angry to see Councillors ignoring the rules they themselves promote. It’s one rule for them and another for us.
“Despite our community being hit hard, they were out hugging and stuff. I went up to them and started recording, telling them how wrong it was for them to be breaking the rules and being so disrespectful to everyone who has been suffering.
“Throughout this pandemic, I’ve seen firsthand how devastating it’s been for the people of Blackburn. I’ve had to bathe the bodies of their loved ones – some of them didn’t even get to say goodbye because of the restrictions.
“I’ve used my taxi van as a hearse on some occasions, it’s been that bad, and have paid for PPE out of my own pocket.
“My parents have health conditions, and some people advised me not to risk volunteering, but me and my parents and family wanted me to do it, because it’s important. We, and others, have put ourselves at risk and made sacrifices, while our local leaders are disrespecting that, and disrespecting those who have lost relatives.
“What’s even more annoying is that only a handful of relatives have been able to attend funerals, and we’ve had Councillors attend each one to tell people to make sure they stick to the social distancing rules – but then the same councillors are out there breaking those same rules.
“When I started filming the group and telling them how wrong it was, one of the Councillors asked where I lived. He wasn’t apologetic or bothered about what he was doing, he just seemed to want to interrogate me.
“Then, Councillor Mafooz Hussain told me to fuck off.”
In the video clip provided to VoteWatch, Mafooz demands to know where Murad lives. Upon being told ‘I live here’, the Councillor says ‘fuck off then’, gesturing with his hand for him to go away.
“I’ve always tried to stay away from him [Cllr Hussain]. His reputation is appalling” Murad told us.
“I’ve spoken to people in our community and many have said how abusive he is and how he uses foul language. But until now, no-one’s had the chance to catch it on camera.
“I’ve also spoken to a few local Labour supporters. They’re appalled too. One of the paid members said that they shouldn’t be elected, and at the very least shouldn’t stand in the next election.
“Families here are still broken. They still haven’t recovered. They’ve had fathers, mothers, grandparents die. They have broken hearts and are missing their loved ones. But meanwhile, our own leaders don’t give a toss.”
Among the group of Labour Councillors caught by Murad was former Mayor Iftakhar Hussain, who is still himself a sitting Councillor.
In April of this year, Cllr Hussain resigned as Blackburn’s mayor after being caught by police breaking lockdown laws to attend a private wedding party.
The Labour Mayor’s bizarre and unbelievable initial excuse was that he had attended the address after being contacted and asked to come over to ‘open the front door to allow a delivery driver to deliver some food’.
Cllr Hussain also resigned from the Labour Party, yet was quietly readmitted just weeks later and successfully stood for election again in May.
VoteWatch has been heavily focused on Blackburn in recent months, with local Labour Councillors continuing to mire themselves in scandal.
Not only was the Labour-run council placed under official police investigation recently, allegedly over allegations of corruption and fraud, but its leader, Mohammed Khan, was slammed last month for calling all Tories and their supporters ‘dirty lying bastards’.
This month, Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani, who also sits on the council for Labour, was suspended from the party after delivering a speech in the chamber that was riddled with antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories, including the lie that Israeli officials are ‘kidnapping Palestinian children and harvesting their organs’.
In another shocking incident last month, Labour shadow minister Kate Hollern (MP for Blackburn) stood down from the front bench after being caught issuing vile threats against a Tory MP’s family in an attempt to protect a Labour colleague accused of sexual Harassment.
Speaking to VoteWatch about the latest scandal and the abhorrent treatment of Murad Hussain, Rick Moore, Deputy Chair of the Blackburn Conservatives, said:
“I think it’s totally disgraceful that Labour Councillors are flouting the Covid rules, when so many like Murad have been volunteering to help keep communities safe throughout the pandemic.
“It is a total slap in the face to all of the people who have been keeping to the restrictions – once again ‘do as I say, not as I do’ from Labour.
“I am also gobsmacked that Cllr Mafooz Hussain thinks it’s appropriate to tell a constituent to F*** Off when challenged.
“It’s just yet another example of Labour sleaze. And they wonder why Blackburn has the highest Covid rate in the country. This clip says it all.”