Are Hindu families being threatened out of Leicester in a replay of the Kashmir pogrom?

By Rahul Kumar

New Delhi, Sep 23: The Indian diaspora in Leicester has expressed its dismay that not enough British Indian politicians have publicly condemned the violence against the Hindus in their city. They are apprehensive that the Leicester violence is part of a bigger plan to intimidate Hindus across other UK towns.

Hindu scholar and yogacharya, Satish Kumar Sharma said: "We are witnessing the same strategy used to ethnically cleanse Hindus from Kashmir whilst making it their fault for existing, now being executed in parts of the UK. Any Hindu can be targeted simply by alleging 'Hindutva Fascist'."

This was corroborated by researcher and former Counter-extremism Coordinator for the UK government, Charlotte Littlewood, who told British media organisation, GB News: "Islamist extremist influencers are rallying mobs via social media to come out in the hundreds in a bid to 'clean out Leicester's Hindus.' A deep dive into private social media circles made clear today."

On conditions of anonymity, a London-based British Hindu activist said that groups of Muslim youth are standing in front of Hindu homes and threatening them to move out of Leicester.

The British Hindus see a pattern in attacks on Hindu people and religious symbols. They allege that Islamist groups in Britain have made a list of temples where they plan to stage protests. After nearly three weeks of violence against Hindus in Leicester and an attack on a temple in Birmingham, Thursday will see a protest in front of the Indian High Commission in London where a pro-Islamist group South Asia Solidarity has given a call to hold a protest in the evening.

The calls for "Leicester: Emergency Protest" have raised fears that it could lead to violence as was witnessed in 2019 after Pakistanis and Khalistanis injured Indians celebrating the Independence Day by throwing projectiles like frozen water bottles, tomatoes and eggs.

Meanwhile, Minister for External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly tweeted that he has taken up the Leicester violence with British officials. On Wednesday, he met with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly for discussions on various issues. Jaishankar tweeted: "Shared my concern about the security and welfare of the Indian community in UK. Welcomed his assurances in that regard."

Alpesh Patel, former Financial Times columnist, told GB News that the communities in the UK need "more respect and law and order. We want fewer jihadis because I am coming from the 9/11 memorial... When I see a group of men dressed in black and wearing black masks, shouting at a little Indian woman in a saree coming out of temple..."

He pointed out that a false impression about Hindu hardliners has been spread, emphasising that hardline groups like Taliban, the Al Qaeda and the ISIS do not comprise the Hindus as he spoke about the size and diversity of the country in glowing terms.

The violence in Leicester has galvanised Hindu groups across the world to issue messages of solidarity with their brethren in Leicester. In a press release, the Australian Hindu Association expressed fears that the attacks on Hindus in "Leicester & Birmingham by Islamist extremists is the beginning of a planned campaign by vested interest groups. British law enforcement agencies must act decisively now. Otherwise this modus operandi will spread to other parts of Britain & internationally."

London saw two security-related incidents in the past week despite additional police forces in the UK's capital city.

With Heads of States visiting London for the Queen's funeral, the city was in a state of alert yet a man was arrested for stabbing two police officers. The police charged Mohammed Rahman with attempted murder for the stabbing on September 16.

In another incident at the British parliament, the police arrested Muhammad Khan, 28, for charging at the Queen's coffin while it was lying in state and trying to pull away the flag. He later told the police that he planned to meet the Queen even if that meant trespassing into her castles.

In Leicester, the police brought calm by arresting 47 people over the weekend and charging three with various crimes. Besides desecrating the Hindu temple, the assailants had attacked the Leicester police, injuring an unprecedented 25 officers and a police dog. With additional police forces from other parts of the UK, the city remains calm since Monday.

In Birmingham too, the police arrested an 18-year-old for possessing a knife outside the Durga Bhawan temple in Smethwick area.



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