New Delhi, September 21
Even as the UK police continued its crackdown on violent protests in Leicester city, a “minor disorder” at a Hindu temple in Birmingham was reported during a protest against the scheduled visit of Sadhvi Rithambara, founder of Param Shakti Peeth, as a speaker. Though Rithambara’s programme was cancelled, the protesters still went ahead with fireworks and angry sloganeering. One man was arrested with the police assuming stop-and-search powers.
- Editorial: Leicester violence
“We understand this (protest) is in relation to concerns around a speaker at the temple in Spon Lane, but we’re informed the event has been cancelled and this person is not staying in the UK,” tweeted the local Sandwell Police. Videos of Tuesday’s protest outside Durga Bhawan temple in the Smethwick area of Birmingham showed the police trying to hold back a mob of about 100 masked men who were shouting and hurling items.
“Following a protest gathering, there was some minor disorder and one person was arrested,” the West Midlands police said in a statement. The 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife remained in custody for questioning on Wednesday.
“We had a pre-planned police presence near the temple in Spon Lane where fireworks and missiles were thrown towards some of our officers. Thankfully no one was injured,” the police said.
Rithambara had tried to head for the UK after her engagement in New Jersey, United States, was cancelled following civil society protests. In April too, virtual events featuring Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati in the US were cancelled.
The clashes in Birmingham follow “serious disorder” between Hindu and Muslim groups in the eastern England city of Leicester after an India-Pakistan cricket match last month. It has resulted in 47 arrests.
The Leicestershire police said they were investigating attacks on both communities. The Indian and the Pakistani High Commissions have also issued statements about the violence that began after India won the Asia Cup T-20 cricket match against Pakistan on August 28.
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