The Hindu community in Leicester has been a target of organised violence over the past 20 days, Indian diaspora group Insight UK has said amid reports of “serious disorder” and Leicestershire Police appeals for calm following a weekend of clashes.
“On the evening of 17 September, a peaceful protest march by Hindu youths was attacked by radical Islamists with stones and glass bottles,” Insight UK said in a statement.
“It is obvious from the video footage that this attack was carefully planned to terrorise the Hindu community,” the group said.
Leicestershire Police said that its officers attended in large numbers as dispersal and stop and search powers were authorised in an effort at “restoring calm” to the area.
“Several incidents of violence and damage have been reported to the police and are being investigated. We are aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester. This appears to have taken place while police officers were dealing with public disorder in the area. The incident will be investigated,” police said in a statement.
Police had imposed similar dispersal orders earlier this month after a few days of unrest in the wake of the India versus Pakistan match in Dubai on August 28 and several arrests have been made.
Leicestershire Police posted on Twitter on September 17: “We've seen reports on social media that a mosque is being attacked. Officers on the ground have confirmed this is not true. Please only share information on social media you know to be true.”
British Indians came out in support of police calls to end such “misinformation” and “fabrication”.
“Every citizen in the UK has the right to protest peacefully, just as the role of the police is to maintain peace and prevent harm. Although we recognise police are under-resourced, recent events also call into question the police’s preparedness. We call on the police to ensure that Hindus receive the due protection they deserve,” Insight UK said.