Leicester violence : The Tribune India

Leicester violence

Communal tension reeks of deep-set distrust

Leicester violence

A grab from a video tweeted by @WasiqUK

Communal trouble has been brewing in Leicester city of the UK since August 28 following the India-Pakistan cricket match held in Dubai. The UK police’s failure to nip the recurring Hindu-Muslim disorder in the bud caused the tension to escalate into hate-filled communal clashes over the last weekend as protesting mobs took to the streets. Even as both groups take aggressive postures, the flare-up is turning into an international slugfest, with India taking a serious note of the issue. The Indian High Commission in London has condemned the violence and vandalisation of some Hindu religious places and symbols. Incidentally, a section of Muslims has pointed out the ‘failure’ of the commission to address the unrest in a balanced way as there is no mention of atrocities committed against the Muslim people.

Appeals for calm and harmony by saner elements in both Hindu and Muslim groups and the local police arresting 47 accused so far, though welcome, have come a tad late. The outbreak of disorder, the intimidation and violence unleashed and rumour-mongering have deepened the distrust between the two communities. It will take a lot more engagement, with elected representatives acting as mediators, for the wounds inflicted by religious intolerance and hate crimes to heal.

In fact, the cricket match just happens to be a trigger for this latest bout of racist anarchy. With a huge diaspora from both India and Pakistan having chosen the UK as their new home, communal tensions arising out of provocative and extreme ideological stands taken by some hardliners and radicals have been simmering for years. Caught in this toxicity are Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, even as the British authorities generally tend to brush it under the carpet. That the Islamist faction has the demographic advantage and comprises a sizeable votebank, has often led the political class to appease them. The most reprehensible manifestation of this is a study that shows that Pakistani gangs of men have been grooming Sikh girls in the UK for sexual abuse for decades and that the police have ‘recklessly ignored’ the complaints due to ‘political correctness’.

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