Explained: Communal clashes in Leicester: what we know so far

The story thus far: The Indian High Commission in London has strongly condemned the violence against the Indian community in United Kingdom’s Leicester, amid studies of “large-scale unrest” and “critical dysfunction” within the metropolis following communal clashes over the weekend, resulting in 47 arrests thus far.

In an announcement on Twitter on Monday, the Indian Excessive Fee stated, “We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated in opposition to the Indian neighborhood in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu faith. Now we have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authorities and have sought rapid motion in opposition to these concerned in these assaults.” India additionally urged the UK to guard these affected.

What occurred in Leicester?

Disturbances within the metropolis of Leicester first started final month after an India and Pakistan cricket match, as per the police. On August 28, followers from Hindu and Muslim communities reportedly clashed after India secured a win against Pakistan within the Asia Cup T20 event in Dubai. Eight folks had been arrested on “suspicion of assault and violent dysfunction”, as per English media. A number of related incidents of disturbance had been reported within the coming days, which led to extra arrests. 

What led to contemporary violence?

Bother flared up after an “unplanned protest” was taken out in Leicester on Saturday, September 17. In line with a report in The Guardian, a gaggle of Hindu males had been filmed marching by town’s Inexperienced Lane Highway, which has many Muslim-owned companies and a Hindu temple. One of many Muslim neighborhood leaders informed The Guardian that loud chants of “Jai Shri Ram” may very well be heard from streets away. A lady informed the BBC that there have been folks carrying balaclavas or masks over their faces and with hoods pulled up. “They had been simply in every single place, it was like crowds strolling away from a soccer match,” she was quoted as saying.

One other particular person, described as neighborhood activist Majid Freeman by The Guardian, reportedly filmed disturbances on town’s Belgrave Highway. He posted a video on-line through which the smashing of glass bottles may very well be heard. “They had been coming previous our mosques, taunting the neighborhood and bodily beating folks up randomly,” he stated. “That’s when the Muslim neighborhood got here out and stated: ‘We are able to’t belief the police, we’re going to defend our neighborhood ourselves,’” Freeman stated. 

The Hindu neighborhood within the UK, in the meantime, stays on edge. A former head of a Hindu organisation within the UK, Drishti Mae, alleged that Hindu households had been being harassed by some Muslims within the metropolis. “They really feel threatened, and attacked,” she alleged, saying the police had been failing to guard property, folks and locations of worship. “We do have a proper to guard ourselves,” she stated. 

A number of movies circulating on-line present a person knocking down a flag outdoors a constructing, whereas a flag is being burned in one other, which prompted the Indian Excessive Fee to launch an announcement. A person who recognized himself as a consultant of Hindu temples within the metropolis “confirmed” to The Guardian that the flag outdoors a temple on Belgrave Highway was eliminated, whereas one other was burned.

The police motion that adopted

The Leicestershire Police has been continually calling for calm over the previous few weeks and dispelling rumours in frequent tweets since unrest first broke out within the East space of Leicester final month. 

Following “critical dysfunction on Saturday when a big crowd fashioned after teams of younger males started an unplanned protest”, the Leicestershire Police posted a video message by non permanent chief constable Rob Nixon. Within the clip, the officer confirmed that there had been numerous reports of an “outbreak of disorder” in East Leicester. “We’re taking management of the state of affairs. The dispersal and cease and search powers have been authorised. Please don’t get entangled. We’re calling for calm,” he stated.

The dispersal energy of the police permits officers to direct an individual who has dedicated, or is more likely to commit, anti-social behaviour to depart a specified space and never return for as much as 48 hours, they can stop and search to “allay or confirm” their suspicions without making an arrest.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe issued an enchantment for calm on Twitter as she referred to as for “cool heads”.  “…I’m involved by ongoing studies of ‘hate-filled clashes’, together with these which emerged right this moment in Leicester. It’s critical that we work collectively to share the message of tolerance in order that we are able to deliver our communities collectively,” she wrote.

Leicester’s Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby additionally informed the BBC that he was “baffled” by the occasions within the metropolis. On studies of males coming in from different cities of the UK to stoke dysfunction in Leicester, he stated, “It’s principally younger males of their late teenagers and early 20s and I’ve heard options folks have are available (to town) from outdoors in search of a possibility to have a set to. It’s very worrying for folks within the areas the place this has occurred.” He stated he and neighborhood leaders are “assured Leicester is resilient sufficient to have the ability to return to regular relations very quickly”.

What have the police stated about temple vandalism?

In an replace on Saturday’s unrest, the police stated a number of incidents of violence and injury had been reported. The assertion stated the police had been conscious of a video circulating displaying a person knocking down a flag outdoors a non secular constructing on Melton Highway. “This seems to have taken place whereas officers had been coping with close by public dysfunction within the space. We don’t tolerate violence or dysfunction. The incident will probably be investigated,” it stated. Fifteen folks had been arrested on Saturday.

On September 19, teams of males once more gathered within the North Evington space. Nonetheless, police stated the state of affairs was introduced below management with a brief police cordon. “We is not going to tolerate violence, dysfunction or intimidation in Leicester, and we proceed to name for calm and dialogue. Our police operations and investigations proceed with rigour and at scale,” the assertion stated.

As per the most recent replace by the Leicestershire Police, posted on Twitter at 8.09 a.m. (IST), there have been no studies of dysfunction, whereas “proactive police patrols as a part of ongoing operation proceed.”

What has been the response of the 2 communities?

Leaders from each the Hindu and Muslim communities have made appeals for peace and calm whereas calling for engagement.

Describing the occasions as “alarming”, Suleman Nagdi of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, informed the BBC that there have been issues between the 2 communities for the reason that cricket match, however issues took a flip for the worst. “There are some very dissatisfied younger males who’ve been inflicting havoc. We have to get the message out that this should finish…” he was quoted as saying.

In an announcement, the Muslim Council of Britain referred to as for “motion in opposition to far-right Hindutva extremism” in Leicester. “These provocations have focused Muslims, Sikhs and different minorities and consequently, instigated hostilities between native communities in Leicester. We don’t imagine these folks characterize the views of wider Hindu communities, with whom Muslims and Sikhs, amongst others, take pleasure in good relations within the UK, of which Leicester, traditionally, is a first-rate instance.”  

Sanjiv Patel, a consultant of Hindu and Jain temples throughout town, stated he was deeply saddened by the current disturbances. “Throughout the Hindu and Jain neighborhood and with our Muslim brothers and sisters and leaders, we’re persistently saying ‘calm minds, calm heads’…Violence just isn’t an answer to something. This must be a time for peace, calm and engagement,” he was quoted as saying.

Leaders of the Hindu and Jain temples and neighborhood organisations within the UK metropolis additionally launched an announcement and stated they had been working with the police to unravel Saturday’s march. “We condemn the insensitive and completely disgraceful acts on the streets of Belgrave and North Evington. Leaders of the Hindu neighborhood aren’t going to tolerate such acts of aggression that undermine the relationships and unity inside this metropolis of Leicester,” they stated.


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