Tensions flare up between Hindus and Muslims in central England

On the streets of Leicester, England, teams of younger males, largely Hindus and Muslims, have been going through off. Since August 28, movies have proven teams of masked younger males taking to the streets amid heightened tensions.

Though neighborhood leaders have referred to as for calm, many individuals, together with our Observer, worry a resumption of violence within the coming weeks.

Representatives of each Hindus and Muslims gathered exterior the Jameh Mosque in Leicester on September 19 to name for calm and, after a number of weeks of stress and violence between Hindus and Muslims, referred to as on “instigators of hatred to go away”. [their] the town alone

On the identical time, tensions took a geopolitical flip. Each the Indian and Pakistani embassies in London issued statements on the latest occasions, with India denouncing “violence towards the Indian neighborhood” and Pakistan citing “anti-Islamic incidents”.

“Many have pointed the finger on the Hindu neighborhood, however the attackers have been RSS supporters,” our Observer De Batelhas has lived in Leicester for the previous 15 years. We glance to the long run as new tensions erupt within the area on September 20 exterior a Hindu temple in Smethwick, a suburb of Birmingham:

In Leicester there have been no new explosions within the metropolis since Sunday and I believe the state of affairs will stay calm for a couple of days. However a number of voice messages being shared in WhatsApp neighborhood teams point out that it isn’t over but.

It started on 28 August in Belgrave, east of Leicester. Dozens of males, some carrying Indian flags, marched after their group’s victory over Pakistan within the Asian Cricket Cup.

Cries of “Loss of life to Pakistan” have been heard because the procession progressed earlier than a number of folks violently attacked a Sikh.

This episode was introduced as a springboard for communal tensions within the Midlands metropolis, which many have interpreted as opposition between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

However our observer disagreed with this model of occasions:

Leicester is a comparatively combined metropolis. Not like different cities, folks stay collectively right here – Muslims and Hindus. There have been no issues within the final 50 years [Editor’s note: since the first wave of Indian immigration]. The primary issues occurred final Could, when about 30 folks attacked a youngster. Many pointed the finger on the Hindu neighborhood, however the attackers have been RSS supporters.

The RSS, or “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”, is a right-wing Hindu nationalist paramilitary group that features, for instance, Gandhi’s killer.

Regardless of a number of minor sporadic incidents, calm returned to the town after the occasions of August 28, however the state of affairs took a flip for the more serious on September 17 throughout an unannounced rally by younger Hindu extremists.

Lots of of younger males, largely masked, gathered in East Leicester. © @Majstar7 The procession headed east of the town to a residential space with a Muslim majority. The demonstrators, some from London, chanted “Jai Shri Ram”, a Hindu slogan meaning “Glory to Lord Rama” and has change into synonymous with hatred towards Muslims in India.

That is what he began immediately at #Leicester. The Hindu mob marched by way of the streets chanting exterior the mosque and angered the Muslims. Hardly any police. The Muslims have been advised by the police that there can be no demos and so they had the whole lot underneath management. Then the Muslims left. pic.twitter.com/mddlt5TinC

– Majid Freeman (@Majstar7) September 18, 2022 RSS members echo the slogan “Jai Shri Ram” in Leicester on September 17 throughout assaults on protesters towards the Indian Citizenship (Modification) Act in 2020.

And a few say, what’s the hurt in Hindu protest and chanting their slogans exterior the mosque and within the streets? Not solely was it a provocation however the racist #Hindutva mobs have been attacking random Muslims within the streets as nicely. Muslims got here out in numbers after this. #Lister https://t.co/Ari3i5c295 pic.twitter.com/PZXo2iKUNC

– Majid Freeman (@Majstar7) September 18, 2022 Rallyed elsewhere to safe the Queen’s funeral, police outnumbered on September 17, as seen right here on Greenline Highway. Members of the Muslim neighborhood staged a counter-protest.

Police separated a few of the protesters from Hindu extremists, who have been additionally armed with sticks (proven right here in pink). © @Majstar7

Later within the night, counter-demonstrators continued to confront the extremist Hindu march, which was nonetheless separated by police cordons. They threw a number of projectiles, like bottles.

Patel defined what occurred subsequent:

The hostile protesters have been joined later within the night by younger males who had come to battle. A lot of them have been from Birmingham. And silly spells occurred, like harm to a Hindu temple, or damaged automobile home windows.

Two protesters burn a Hindu flag, whereas different movies present a protester tearing up one other flag exterior the temple. © @SarahLGates1

RSS supporters might be again. Many thought the stress was round cricket, in order that they did not get entangled. However now they perceive and can come out sooner or later: it isn’t a cricket downside, it is an RSS downside.

On September 21, Leicestershire Police introduced that 47 folks had been arrested since tensions erupted in late August.

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