Leicester Violence: Videos Show Saffron Flag Pulled Down, Reincarnation Beliefs Of Hindus Mocked

by Swarajya Staff - Sep 21, 2022 11:50 AM +05:30 IST
Leicester Violence: Videos Show Saffron Flag Pulled Down, Reincarnation Beliefs Of Hindus MockedA still from a video of saffron flag being pulled down.
Snapshot
  • Tensions began after an India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match on 28 August.

The eastern English city of Leicester has been witnessing episodes of clashes between the Pakistani Muslim and Indian Hindu groups for a month. 

Tensions began after an India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match on 28 August, in which the Indian team won.

At Least 47 Arrests Made So Far, Perpetrators Not Identified By Police

On the first day of the clashes, the Leicester Police arrested a man for assaulting a police officer and a civilian. In a statement, the police identified the man only as a 28-year-old and not by his name. 

The statement also said that “racist and hateful chanting” was circulating on social media, without identifying the target of the chanting.

In the latest press release issued on 19 September, the Leicester Police said that a total of 47 arrests had been made. The police gave details of all the arrests made, but did not identify any person with their names, except for a 20-year-old identified as Amos Noronha who has been sentenced to 10 months in prison.

The same day, the Indian High Commission and the Pakistani High Commission in London issued statements on the episodes of violence.

The Indian side called these episodes as “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalization of premises and symbols of Hindu religion”. 

On the other hand, the Pakistani side  in the UK called the episodes “systematic campaign of violence and intimidation that has been unleashed against Muslims of the area”.   

Saffron Flag Removed, Hindus Insulted For Reincarnation Beliefs

Amid the political blame game, a video emerged this week of vandalisation of a Hindu temple in the city. The footage shows a saffron flag outside the temple pulled down by a masked men. The police have said they are investigating into it.

Watch the video here.

On 18 September, the Leicester Police issued a statement about it, saying “serious disorder” was witnessed on 17 September and that the police are “aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building”.

“The incident will be investigation,” the statement said.

Another video has emerged of a Pakistani man named Mohammed Hijab, described by some as “activist”, as mocking religious beliefs of Hindus.

“If they (Hindus) believe in reincarnation, what a humiliation of them to be reincarnated into some pathetic, weak, cowardly people like that,” Hijab is seen saying to a gathering.

Watch the video here.

Background 

Clashes between Pakistanis and Indians erupted in Leicester in 2017 as well when Pakistani cricket team won against the Indian team in the Champions Trophy.

The population of Leicester is around 330,000, of which Hindus are about 15 per cent while Muslims are slightly higher in numbers, around 18 per cent, as per 2011 census.

The report shows that the proportion of Muslims in Leicester has jumped significantly between 2001 and 2011 from 11 per cent to 18 per cent.

Yesterday (20 September), the Twitter account of Leicester Police posted a video of a joint statement by Hindu and Muslim community leaders appealing for peace.

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