What caused the recent community tension in Leicester?

Jame Mosque in Leicester

Leicester community activist Majid Freeman outlines the timeline of the anti-Muslim violence in the city and asks how far the poisonous Hindutva ideology has spread amongst British Hindus? 

A lot of people have been asking whether the tensions in Leicester are over a cricket match, however nothing could be further from the truth.

Over the past few years there have been an increasing number of Hindus in the Spinney Hill/Green Lane Road area who have been getting drunk both at night and in the daytime. They’re constantly engaged in anti-social behaviour from blasting music late at night while people are trying to sleep to urinating openly on the streets, fly tipping, consuming drugs etc.

This has been reported to the police on numerous occasions by many concerned locals, however they have said no action has been taken. It would be interesting to see how many complaints and reports Leicestershire Police have had for the anti-social behaviour in this area over the past two years.

Ripped Quran pages have also been found on the streets near Melton Road (a heavily populated Hindu area). There is a video circulating of a Muslim sister and a few Muslim brothers who were picking the pages up off the roads. It is unclear who threw the ripped Quran pages on the road and the exact date of the incident.

Injuries sustained by the 19 year old who was attacked in May

Here is a timeline of the most recent events:

May 22, 2022 – A Muslim teen was beaten up by 30+ Hindus with bats and poles late at night in an unprovoked attack and hospitalised. He ran to his friend’s house nearby where his friend’s parents were also beaten, their house smashed, alcohol bottles were thrown in the house and much more. The friend’s father was beaten up with weapons too.

The victim’s family decided to deal with it via the authorities so went to the police. After a week they were still chasing the police up to come and take a statement. The victim’s family went door to door and collected CCTV footage of the attackers themselves and handed it to the police who they felt weren’t taking it seriously.

The initial attack by the mob took place near a temple which has CCTV outside. When the temple was asked for the CCTV footage, they said the cameras weren’t working.

August 2022 – Hindus chanting “Death to Pakistan” on Melton Road after the Pakistan vs India cricket match. The mob then attacked a Sikh man and a police officer. This was all caught on camera and the police are aware of it.

There has been a rise in groups of Hindus celebrating Indian Independence Day by going outside Masajid and horning loudly etc. Hindus have been celebrating their independence day in Leicester for years, however these provocations and taunts are a recent development. The Muslim community has been extremely patient and tolerant throughout this whole ordeal.

September 2022 – Another 20-year-old Muslim youngster was attacked late at night with poles and bats after the Pakistan vs India cricket match. He was attacked just minute’s walk away from the initial attack on the other Muslim teenager in May. Both of the attacks were at a similar time and in an identical cowardly manner. Both boys were asked if they were Muslim before getting attacked by the mob with poles and bats. That same night a car went outside a nearby masjid where two men got out and urinated on the masjid walls. This has also been reported to the police.

Police inaction

You’d be forgiven for assuming that after three months and with CCTV footage of the attackers at their disposal, Leicestershire police might have made some arrests. But as of this date there have been none and the culprits are still walking the streets freely.

It’s important to mention that after the 19-year-old Muslim man was beaten with poles leaving him covered in blood and fearing he was going to die, his first request to the police was that they take him to the hospital before giving them his detailed statement. He felt his arm and hands were broken and in the state he was in he couldn’t think clearly. He was extremely shaken by the attack.

As a result the police released the following statement the next morning, casting aspersions on the victim’s account: “I can confirm that the victim was identified, but at the initial stage of our attendance last night the victim did not want to help us secure evidence from them, a police officer provided initial first aid and they declined further medical attention at the time, but they are now receiving this.”

This line was subsequently repeated by police officers during their street interactions with the local Muslim community. This was an act of extreme irresponsibility on the part of Leicestershire Police and has compounded the existing trust deficit the Muslim community has in the police.

As a result, Leicester’s Muslim community – young and old alike – took to the streets in their hundreds in a display of frustration at the police’s inaction and to show their defiance of the Islamophobic thugs who were targeting them. Due to the understandable anger of the demonstrators matters escalated leading to small outbreaks of civil disturbance.

The media then picked up on the story painting it as a conflict between rival cricket fans. It was a narrative given credence by the police who repeatedly emphasised that this all started over a cricket match making no mention of the alleged religiously aggravated attack from May 2022. In all of the police statements there’s no mention of the initial attack whatsoever.

They’ve consistently promoted this false narrative of a cricketing dispute which has led to the Muslim community being painted as the aggressors. Naturally this has led to a total breakdown of trust between the Muslim community and the police.

Hindu community silence

Throughout all this, there has been silence from Hindu community representatives regarding the vicious anti-Muslim violence being perpetrated by those from within their midst and no pleas to refrain from the type of provocation made mention of earlier.

In the past few weeks, the police have managed to swiftly arrest local Muslims involved in civil disturbances arising from the protests against Hindutva-inspired brutality against their community yet the thugs who beat up two Muslim youngsters are still walking free, as well as those who beat a police officer and other members of the public in some instances in clear view of cameras.

And there have also been numerous confirmed reports of other Muslims who have also been attacked by Hindus in Leicester in the past week. This has not helped to de-escalate the tensions in the community.

On Thursday September 8, a 17 year old Muslim teen was on his way to work at approximately 11:30am when he was stopped by two Hindus who asked him if he was Hindu or Muslim. They then grabbed him by his neck but he managed to beat them both up and escape. This incident took place at 11:30am in broad daylight.

The majority of the cowardly attacks have taken place when the extremist Hindus are in numbers and find Muslims walking alone. After they attack the Muslims they go back into hiding and are nowhere to be seen.

Some members of the Hindu community have been expressing their shock at the recent increase in attacks on Muslims. One local resident, Sejal Modhwadia said: “I heard that Cottesmore Road is where Muslims are getting attacked mostly. As a Hindu I’m shocked that this is happening.”

Another local Muslim mother, Asma, also left a comment complaining about the lawless behaviour which the locals have been complaining to the council and police about for a long time without any response.

Is the Hindutva ideology being imported into the UK? Editorial credit: arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com

Many from the Muslim community have been trying to help keep calm in the community, however we’re finding it extremely difficult to continue doing so because of the way the police have been handling the situation. Imams and others have made the police aware of this difficult situation they have put us in.

The two Muslim youths who were attacked by the Hindu extremist mob both said they felt like they were going to die when they were being attacked. Those responsible for the attacks need to at the very least get arrested. Are we waiting for the same group to attack another lone Muslim late at night when they’re walking alone? Will the next victim be lucky enough to survive?

The RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers Association), is a core organisation in the Hindutva (Hindu fascist) movement and network. It is widely known to be the parent organisation of India’s current ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, or Indian People’s Party). It is, without a doubt, a fascist organisation that uses violence to eliminate India’s religious minorities and caste oppressed people. It is Islamophobic, anti-Sikh, anti-Christian, anti-woman, and anti-Dalit.

Where is this sudden motivation to antagonise and attack Muslims in Leicester coming from? Are some of the Hindus in Leicester trying to imitate the rising violence against Muslims in India under Modi and BJP rule? In India they carry out attacks in a similar manner on Muslims and minorities by lynching them and attacking mosques etc. We’re seeing these attacks start in recent years in the UK. How far has this poisonous Hindutva ideology spread amongst Hindus in the UK?

UPDATE:

On September 14, Leicestershire Police sent us the following statement regarding this article:

“We are aware of the incident in May and have been working closely with the victim and family. This incident is still being investigated and detectives are working hard to bring those involved to justice.

“In the incident relating to a man who was attacked by a number of youths we have never made any negative comments and we continue to engage with him. We commonly use the language ‘the victim did not engage with police’ and it was a statement of fact at the time. He also initially refused medical treatment although attended hospital later”

“Reference to the traffic warden assault – please be clear with your readers that we have established that the traffic warden is safe and well and was not stabbed.

“We continue to work with ALL of our communities including the Muslim community, we speak to community leaders and influencers regularly and are keeping them informed. To say that trust has broken down is disingenuous…

“More than anything we are asking everyone not to circulate anything on social media or websites or news that they don’t know to be totally true.”

Watch the 5Pillars report on the anti-Muslim violence in Leicester.

Add your comments below