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UK: Hindu-Muslim Clashes in Leicester, Tension Heightens

Some journalists have alleged that some of the men from Hindu groups attacking Muslim people belonged to the RSS.
Hindu-Muslim Clash in UK City, RSS Involvement Suspected

Image Courtesy: The Wire

Communal tension marred United Kingdom’s Leicester city on Saturday when scuffles broke out between Hindu and Muslim groups, following days of “disturbances” in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match on August 28, British media outlets reported. 

On September 17, a group led a march chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ through east Leicester. BBC quoted a woman who had witnessed Saturday’s disturbances as having said that there were “people wearing balaclavas or with masks over their faces, and with hoods pulled up.”

“They were throwing bottles and all sorts,” a local of Belgrave Road in the eastern part of Leicester, Majid Freeman, told The Guardian. “They were coming past our mosques, taunting the community and physically beating people up randomly,” he added.

One Drishti Mae, who is described as a former chairperson of a national Hindu organisation, is quoted by the newspaper as saying that the recent unrest was unprecedented but that it was Hindus who were being targeted and harassed. She described Hindus as a “first-generation migrant community.”

“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,” Suleman Nagdi of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations told BBC.

The Guardian report notes that leaders of the Muslim community, Hindu and Jain temples, and community organisations in Leicester have all promised to work to get to the bottom of what caused the march on Saturday.

Leicestershire Police has been releasing frequent tweets, the latest saying the situation is now calm. Earlier, its temporary chief constable Rob Nixon had released a video message urging peace, noting that this was an “unusual occurrence” for such a culturally diverse place.

One of the Guardian reporters Aina Khan later tweeted a long thread in which she essayed her experience reporting the story and the comments she received from men purportedly aligned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

While taking the interview, Khan said that she was accused of being “a member of the Taliban, an extremist, playing the victim card” and of not “scrutinising Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities and fixating on India’s treatment of its minorities, of ignoring how Muslims are raping everyone.”

Khan also tweeted a video showing her audio recording of the three men seen loudly speaking to her on the above topics. Khan wrote in the thread that she was also filmed and that had she not been visibly Muslim, she would not have been treated like this.

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