Exposé of Plot by India Hindu nationalists to incite discord in Leicester last summer
According to the Daily Mail Newspaper, Friday 14th May, the cause of the ethnic tensions in Leicester which grabbed media headlines last summer, was directly linked to ‘sources close to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s political Hindu nationalist party, the BJP.' The newspaper reported that British Security sources confirmed they were in possession of ‘evidence of BJP-linked activists using closed WhatsApp groups to encourage Hindu protesters to take to the streets’ and to deliberately provoke tensions in Leicester.
Leicester is a city, which for decades has seen its mostly British-Indian based Muslim community living in harmony with their British-Indian Hindu neighbours. The city has in fact been held up as the perfect model for multiculturalism in Britain. It has one of the largest Asian populations in the country, outside of London, with Asians accounting for just short of 40% of the entire population of the city, roughly equally divided between Muslims and Hindus. Muslims have been largely concentrated in the East with Hindus living in the North of Leicester.
'We pride ourselves on good relations between communities'
So it was a surprise to most people, at the end of last summer, during August and September, that the harmony enjoyed for decades across the city, was violently disrupted as ethnic tensions just appeared and reached heightened levels, seemingly overnight. There was much speculation as to what caused the sudden disharmony. The Mayor of Leicester – Sir Peter Soulsby, announced that he intended to launch an official investigation into the clashes and the causes. In almost a prediction of this weeks revelations, he famously said:
‘It does suggest that there are people with other battles to fight who are coming to Leicester to fight them. It’s distressing that they choose to do it in our city. We pride ourselves on good relations between communities’
Police forced to deploy dispersal tactics and stop and search
There were suggestions that an altercation after an India~Pakistan Cricket match, may have been the starting point for a series of violent clashes between the communities. There were even suggestions in the Indian Media that Muslim extremists, ‘Pakistani organised gangs,’ were responsible for ‘Hindus coming under attack’. Police reported at the time that they had arrested more than 47 people since the troubles broke out on 28th August and they said they had been forced to deploy dispersal tactics and stop-and-search powers to clear the streets of unplanned protests and where they suspected pockets of disorder.
Community leaders call for calm
The sudden breakout of tensions saw community leaders from both sides, making valiant attempts to urge calm. A joint statement was released from community leaders representing both communities which suggested that:
‘much of the violence was the result of misinformation and fake news circulating on social media’.
The newspaper headlines reflected the shock at the sudden breakdown in relations. The Independent Newspaper’s headline at the time read:
‘Leicester at sudden crossroads after violence ends 50 years of harmony’
One shop owner was quoted as saying:
‘People are scared. My takings are down 30 per cent. Everyone’s staying indoors with their curtains closed. They don’t feel safe to come out.’
Other headlines spoke of ‘Large Scale Unrest’ and ‘Serious Disorder’ and of the failure of the multiculturalism experiment.
Home Secretary blames violence on 'the failure of newcomers to integrate'
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, openly blamed the riots on uncontrolled migration into the U.K. and the failure of newcomers to integrate. She said:
‘The unexamined drive towards multiculturalism as an end in itself combined with the corrosive aspects of identity politics has led us astray’
Most community leaders have this week seen the Daily Mail revelation as an opportunity to put the disquiet and the disruptions of the summer behind them and a chance to rebuild fractured relations and trust between their communities.