Hindu-Muslim scuffles lead to communal tension in Leicester

The weekend violence was the latest in a series of incidents that began after an India versus Pakistan Asia Cup cricket game on 28 August, reports Asian Lite News

Large numbers of police officers originally posted for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II have been redeployed in Leicester, following violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim men over the weekend, which led to the arrest of 15 people, Leicester’s temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon said.

The weekend violence was the latest in a series of incidents — including communally-provocative chants, mob clashes involving throwing bottles, and the tearing down of a temple flag — that began after an India versus Pakistan Asia Cup cricket game on 28 August.

After the weekend’s disruption, police and community leaders called for calm and restraint between the two communities in Leicester’s east end. Early Monday morning, the police had to resort to using their “stop and search” powers to “deter further disorder”.

Before this weekend’s flare-up, and after the cricket match, 27 people were arrested and consequently released on bail in separate incidents between Hindu and Muslim groups till 11 September.

According to reports, a procession was taken out by a group of Hindu men Saturday in east Leicester’s Green Lane Road. The street has several shops owned by Muslims and a Hindu temple near it. Reportedly, the group was walking through the street while chanting “Jai Shree Ram”.

Majid Freeman, a Leicester resident, video-recorded parts of the Saturday procession and the consequent flare-up. In one of his recordings, a fight erupts between two unidentified individuals, leading to police intervention.

In another video, glass bottles can be seen being thrown by the mob and the police asking people to “get back”.

The Guardian quoted Freeman explaining the events on Saturday. He said, “They [Hindus] were throwing bottles and all sorts”. “They [Hindus] were coming past our mosques, taunting the community and physically beating people up randomly.”

According to Freeman, the Muslim community then organised itself in response to the Hindu community’s march, “to defend themselves”.

However, Wasiq Wasiq, a PhD scholar at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, published a video where unidentified individuals were destroying the flags of a Hindu temple.

A blame game between the two communities seems to have broken out. The sequence of events will only get clear after the Leicester Police completes its investigation.

Meanwhile, temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon has appealed for calm after Saturday’s chaos.

Suleman Nagdi, from the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, told the BBC, “We need calm — the disorder has to stop and it has to stop now. There are some very dissatisfied young men who have been causing havoc. We need to get the message out that this must end and try to do this through parents and grandparents talking to their sons.”

A statement from a group of Hindu and Jain temples of Leicester declared they were appalled by the violence, and called for immediate peace, stating that those responsible from within the community must be dealt with.

India condemns vandalising of temple

The Indian High Commission in London has strongly condemned the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in United Kingdom’s Leicester.

In its statement, the Indian High Commission strongly protested the violence and vandalising of a Hindu temple in Leicester. “We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authorities and have sought immediate action against those involved in these attacks. We call on the authorities to provide protection to the affected people,” the statement from the Indian High Commission said.

The Indian High Commission has also urged the authorities to provide protection to those affected.

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