the story So Far: Indian High Commission in London strongly condemns violence against Indian community In Leicester, United Kingdom, 47 arrests have been made so far, amid reports of “large-scale unrest” and “serious disorder” in the city following sectarian clashes over the weekend.
In a statement on Twitter on Monday, the Indian High Commission said, “We strongly condemn the violence against the Indian community in Leicester and the vandalism of Hindu religious premises and symbols. We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authorities and call for immediate action against those involved in these attacks. India also urged Britain to protect those affected.
What happened in Leicester?
According to the police, disturbances in Leicester city started for the first time since last month’s India and Pakistan cricket match. On August 28, fans of Hindu and Muslim communities reportedly clashed after India won against Pakistan At the Asia Cup T20 tournament in Dubai. According to English media, eight people were arrested on “suspicion of assault and violent disorder”. Several similar incidents of unrest came to light in the days to come, leading to more arrests.
What caused the latest violence?
Troubles escalated after an “unplanned protest” was taken out in Leicester on Saturday, 17 September. According to a report in The Guardian, a group of Hindu men were filmed marching through the city’s Green Lane Road, which houses several Muslim-owned businesses. and a Hindu temple. One of the leaders of the Muslim community told The Guardian that slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” could be heard far and wide from the streets. One woman told the BBC that there were people wearing balaclavas or masks with faces and hats drawn. “They were just everywhere, it was like a crowd running away from a football match,” she was quoted as saying.
Another man, described by The Guardian as community activist Majid Freeman, reportedly filmed the disturbance on the city’s Belgrave Road. He posted a video online in which glass bottles can be heard breaking. “They were coming from near our mosques, taunting the community and killing people randomly,” he said. “That’s when the Muslim community came out and said: ‘We can’t trust the police, we’re going to defend our own community,'” Freeman said.
Meanwhile, the Hindu community in Britain remains on the edge. Drishti Mai, a former head of a Hindu organization in Britain, alleged that some Muslims in the city were harassing Hindu families. “They feel threatened, and are attacked,” he alleged, adding that the police had failed to protect property, people and places of worship. “We have a right to defend ourselves,” she said.
Several videos circulating online showed a man pulling down a flag outside a building while another was burning a flag, following which the Indian High Commission issued a statement. A man identifying himself as a representative of Hindu temples in the city “confirmed” to The Guardian that the flag was removed outside one temple on Belgrave Road, while another was burned.
Subsequent police action
Leicestershire Police have been calling for peace over the past few weeks and dispelling rumors in a series of tweets since the unrest broke out in the eastern region of Leicester last month.
Leicestershire Police posted a video message by temporary chief constable Rob Nixon, “after serious disorder on Saturday when a large crowd formed after groups of youths began an unplanned protest”. in the clip, Official confirms there have been multiple reports of “outbreaks of chaos” in East Leicester, “We are controlling the situation. Dispersal and stop and search powers have been authorized. Please don’t get involved. We are calling for peace,” he said.
The dispersal power of the police allows officers to direct a person who has committed antisocial behavior, or is likely to, to leave a designated area and not return for 48 hours.A stop and search to “reduce or confirm” their suspicions without an arrest,
Leicester East MP Claudia Webe issued an appeal on Twitter for calm as she called for a “calm head”. “…I am concerned by the ongoing reports of ‘hate clashes’, including those that have surfaced in Leicester today. It is important that we work together to share the message of tolerance so that we bring our communities together.”
Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Solsby also told the BBC he was “shocked” by the events in the city. On reports of men coming to Leicester from other UK cities to develop the disorder, he said, “It’s mostly young men who are in their late teens and early 20s and I’ve heard suggestions that people come from outside. Have come (in the city). For the opportunity to set up. It is very worrying for the people of the areas where this has happened.” He added that he and community leaders “believe Leicester is resilient enough to be able to return to normal relations very soon”.
What has the police said on the vandalism of the temple?
In an update on Saturday’s unrest, police said there have been several incidents of violence and damage. Police were aware of a video circulating of a man lowering the flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, the statement said. “It appears when the authorities were dealing with public disorder surrounding the area. We do not tolerate violence or disorder. The incident will be investigated,” it said. Fifteen people were arrested on Saturday.
On 19 September, groups of men again gathered in the North Evington area. However, the police said that the situation was brought under control by a temporary police cordon. “We will not tolerate violence, disorder or intimidation in Leicester, and we will continue to call for peace and dialogue. Our police operations and investigations continue with a large degree of vigor.”
According to the latest update from Leicestershire Police, posted on Twitter at 8.09am (IST), there have been no reports of disorder, while “active police patrolling continues as part of the ongoing operation.”
What has been the reaction of the two communities?
Leaders from both Hindu and Muslim communities have called for engagement and appealed for peace and tranquility.
Suleiman Nagdi, of the Union of Muslim Organizations based in Leicester, told the BBC that there have been problems between the two communities since the cricket match, but things took a turn for the worst. “There are some very disgruntled youths who are creating havoc. We need to send the message that this must end…” he was quoted as saying.
In a statement, Britain’s Muslim Council called for “action against far-right Hindutva extremism” in Leicester. “These provocations targeted Muslims, Sikhs and other minorities and, as a result, fueled hostility between local communities in Leicester. We do not believe that these people represent the views of the broader Hindu communities with whom Muslims and Sikhs, among others, have good relations in the UK, of which Leicester has historically been a prime example.
Sanjeev Patel, representative of Hindu and Jain temples across the city, said he was deeply saddened by the recent disturbances. “In the Hindu and Jain community and along with our Muslim brothers and sisters and leaders, we are constantly saying that ‘Calm mind, calm mind’… Violence is not the solution to anything. This should be a time of peace, calm and connectedness,” he was quoted as saying.
Leaders of Hindu and Jain temples and community organizations in the UK city also issued a statement and said they were working with police to get to the bottom of Saturday’s march. “We condemn the insensitive and outright shameful acts on the streets of Belgrave and North Evington. The leaders of the Hindu community are not going to tolerate such aggression which undermines the ties and unity within this Leicester city,” he said.