After racist tirades and temple vandalisms in US, UK, Canada and Australia, now an actual physical assault has been reported on a Hindu neighborhood of Leicester, UK by what seem to be Pakistani-origin British Islamist gangs, in the wake of the India-Pakistan T20 cricket match on August 28.
The gangs have been vandalising and terrorising Hindus in the UK’s Leicester city. Several videos are doing the rounds on social media of attacks that reportedly took place on August 29 and 30.
In one video, a gang is seen pushing a young man as they vandalize cars. One of the hooded attackers is carrying a knife, while another uproots a Hindu religious saffron flag. A Hindu family shooting the video from their home above seems to be calling the police saying “20 people are attacking my house…urgent, urgent….with a knife and stuff”.
Other videos shows mobs chanting “Pakistan zindabad” (long live Pakistan), “Modi kutta, hai – hai” (down with the dog Modi), “Allah-o-Akbar” as police sirens are also heard. A man boasts that they are “pressuring this whole block [of] Mushriks”. Mushrik is an Arabic word which is a derogatory term for polytheists, non – Muslims or ‘idolators’.
Other videos show Hindu families huddled in their homes watching with disbelief as large mobs roam the street vandalizing property. Police is nowhere to be seen.
Another video shows a group of Muslim men hurling crass abuses at someone that police is trying to save from them. Policemen shout “Get back” but the crowd advances menacingly. Finally, police dogs are brought to control the situation. The video ends with a crowd chanting “Naar-e-Takbeer…Allah-o-Akbar”.
Shital (44), who lives in the area, said Hindus were being told to go straight home after work. “These people have come from all over the UK. They don’t have Leicester accents, some are from London and others are from up north. They took down all the Bhagwa flags outside people’s homes. People are scared in their homes. The areas they targeted used to be mixed Hindu-Muslim but are now predominantly Hindu since many people from Daman and Diu have arrived,” she said.
Most of these scenes of violence and offensive religious sloganeering was reported in the Belgrave area of the city. Leicestershire Police said it was treating chants made by the men and related violence as ‘hate crimes’. Police have put in place special stop and search and dispersal measure in neighbourhoods of Belgrave, Rushey Mead and Spinney Hills, among others. An emergency meeting between faith communities has also been called. A Leicestershire Police officer was also assaulted during the violence, as per reports.
The trouble was sparked by Bharat’s victory against Pakistan in the 28 August T20 group match of ongoing Asia Cup.
Hindus of Bharatiya-origin poured into the streets of the Belgrave area of Leicester — which is predominantly Bharatiya-origin — to celebrate the victory by waving the Bharatiya flag, honking car horns and dancing to dhols. Locals say someone stamped on a Bharatiya flag which infuriated a section of Bharat supporters who raised “Pakistan murdabad” (Down with Pakistan) slogans, and a scuffle was reported in Shaftesbury Avenue, off Melton Road. A member of the public and an officer were assaulted during the disorder, Leicestershire police said, and a man (28) was arrested but later released under investigation.
Pro-Khalistan British journalist Sunny Hundal pounced on this episode to fuel anti-Hindu hate by tweeting ““In Leicester extremist Hindutva groups go on the rampage in Leicester. Shocking stuff”. An anonymous Hindu-hater tweeted, “As if it wasn’t enough in India, now we’ve got these Nazi lovers in the UK disrupting the harmony between different communities.”
British media also reported the events of August 28 as ‘racist, offensive anti-Pakistan chanting’, but there have been no reports as far as we know condemning the horrific anti-Hindu violence that followed.
Australian Hindu human rights activist and PhD scholar Sarah Gates pointed out the type of bigoted, anti-Hindu messages being shared by the British Pakistani handles –
Gates shared evidence that this anti-Hindu violence is not linked to just one cricket match, but Hinduphobia has been bubbling under the surface for long in Leicester, including how a Hindu temple in the city was burgled in the run up to Navratri in 2019. She also called out British Muslim organizations like MEND which are trying to twist the incident to demonize British Hindus and paint anyone who stands up to their propaganda as a ‘Hindutva extremists’.
She also tweeted how the Hindu community is lagging behind in presenting their side of the story: “The Muslim propagandists have just painted UK Hindus as Hindutva extremists while omitting their role. Where is the Hindu media spokesperson, police liaison, social cohesion & community safety officer? Where are the outreach workers on the ground documenting & taking reports?”