Hindu organisations: Community is ‘under siege’ and ‘living in fear’

The Hindu Temple in Neasden was one of the signatories to the letter

One hundred and eighty British Indian and Hindu organisations and temples have written to Prime Minister Liz Truss requesting her to intervene and protect them as they are “being targeted and feel threatened.”

The open letter was signed by organisations such as the National Council of Hindu Temples, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Sanstha UK, Indian National Students Association UK, Overseas Friends of BJP (UK) and the Hindu Lawyers Association (UK).

However, the letter does not mention violence or intimidation perpetrated against Muslims in Leicester or the Hindutva agitation there and elsewhere in the UK.

The letter reads: “We write to draw your attention to the recent disturbances in Leicester, Birmingham and other towns which have greatly distressed the Indian and Hindu communities in the UK. Hatred towards the Hindu community is at an all-time high, to the point where there has been open violence, intimidation, and abuse levelled at Hindus through physical assaults, harassment on social media, and most recently through soft targeting in schools and the workplace.

“The Hindu community has made the UK its home for more than half a century. We are less than two per cent of the population, and yet, our contribution, of which you no doubt are aware, is significantly higher both in terms of socio-economic contribution to the British economy and by way of social integration as well as upholding our progressive British values. The Hindu community is one of the most law-abiding, as evidenced by the imprisonment statistics. Yet, today, we feel like a community that is under siege. As a last resort, we write to you to draw your attention to our plight, and the long-term consequences of what is unfolding.

A screenshot of clashes in Leicester in September

“You must be aware of the violence in Leicester and the aggressive protests outside a temple in Birmingham as well as the vicious attempts to harass the Hindu community in Nottingham and outside London’s iconic Sanatan Mandir in Wembley. Although the causes of what happened in Leicester are many and complex, the bottom line is that a marginalised Hindu community has been targeted through violence and intimidation.

“This Hindu community now lives in a state of fear. While some families have already left the neighbourhood, many more are preparing to relocate. It is worth noting that a small, but highly organised band of radical Islamists took full advantage of the community tensions that existed between the marginalised Hindu community and their Muslim neighbours, which had previously lived in peace.

“A storm of misinformation was created on social media with open incitement to violence against Hindus. As a consequence of this vicious campaign, numerous Hindus were physically assaulted, Hindu homes targeted and cars which showed any Hindu symbolism were vandalized. While the media widely reported it as a clash between the two faith communities, it failed to explain why the damage suffered was almost exclusively by Hindus. It is frightening for the beleaguered Hindu community of Leicester to see that the perpetrators of these crimes are still walking freely.”

The letter makes the following appeals:

  • Police investigate crimes against the Hindu community
  • Financial support is provided for the victims of these “riots,” including businesses in Leicester that have been vandalised
  • To commission an independent investigation into anti-Hindu hatred and its causes.
  • To recognise the threat of British homegrown extremism and how certain parts of Britain have become hubs of radicalisation
  • To help fund training for teachers so that they are aware of and can identify and deal with anti-Hindu hatred in schools
  • To ensure that sufficient security is provided to the Hindu community both in the short-term and long-term, including sufficient security during the celebration of Diwali around the UK.”

Watch the 5Pillars report on Hindutva violence and intimidation in Leicester here. And watch our report on the Muslim protest outside a Hindu temple near Birmingham here.

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