Temple attacked in UK's Leicester after India-Pakistan Asia Cup match : The Tribune India

Temple attacked in UK's Leicester after India-Pakistan Asia Cup match

Indian mission seeks probe into vandalisation of symbols of Hindu religion

Temple attacked in UK's Leicester after India-Pakistan Asia Cup match

A grab from a video tweeted by @WasiqUK

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 19

A religious flag atop a temple was taken down and burnt while South Asian mobs faced off against each other on the streets of Leicester on Sunday, the local police said in a statement.

The Indian High Commission in London strongly condemned the violence against the Indian community and the vandalisation “of (the) premises and symbols of Hindu religion”.

The High Commission said it had taken up the matter with the authorities and sought immediate action against those involved in the attacks.

On the flag being taken down, the police said, “We are aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester. The incident will be investigated.”

A cycle of violence and rumours targeting the other community has been taking place since August 28 after India won the Asia Cup T20 match against Pakistan, both sides told the media though their versions differed about which community was the aggressor. A fight broke out in Melton Road, Leicester, on the same evening of the match, leading to eight arrests.

The Hindu side claimed that tensions had thickened after groups of youth tried to intimidate them. This was followed by a vicious rumour that claimed a Muslim teenager was kidnapped by a Hindu youth. However, Leicester Police later said the kidnapping claim was unfounded. The Muslims claim that mobs had gathered shouting religious slogans next to a mosque and had thrown bottles at them.

“A significant police operation will remain in the area in the coming days,” cautioned Leicester’s Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon in a statement. “We will not tolerate violence, intimidation or disorder and must all discourage those who seek to sow division or put our communities at risk,” he added.

Leicester city mayor Peter Soulsby told the media that, “It’s mostly young men in their late teens and early 20s and I have heard suggestions people have come in (to the city) from outside looking for an opportunity to have a set-to.”

Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, said, “This is a time for cool heads. I implore everyone to go home. We can strengthen our dialogue to repair community relations.”

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