Student Federation India (UK) statement on religious tensions in Leicester

SFI-UK condemns the attempts to communalise and incite religious tensions in Leicester by Hindutva elements, and calls for immediate action against perpetrators
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We express our strongest condemnation of the alarming events at East Leicester, wherein a large pro-Hindutva crowd marched in Muslim localities raising provocative slogans.

The rally attempted to create a hostile environment, and provoke communal tensions between different communities in an area where positive and harmonious relations have persisted over decades.

Disturbingly, videos have also emerged of a man pulling down a flag from a religious building, allegedly a Hindu temple. More videos posted on social media depict individuals chanting anti-Pakistan, pro-Hindutva, and pro-Islamic slogans in separate incidents.

Muslim residents have alleged that anti-Muslim violence from fringe elements within the Hindu community have been a recurring issue in the locality, and several complaints have been lodged with the police previously.

The hatred is driven by jingoist sentiments and Islamophobia. These most recent events occurring on the 17 September come on the back of incidents of physical violence and harassment in Leicester dating back to May 2022, where a 19 year old was attacked by a Hindutva mob.

The rise of right wing chauvinism and anti-Muslim sentiments in the Indian diaspora is a result of the rising Hindutva fanaticism in the home country, with the BJP and Sangh Parivar fuelling hate, and sowing communal rifts.

SFI UK urges the Leicester police to take immediate action against the inciters, and restore peace and harmony.

It is heartening in this regard to see statements from community leaders reflecting the sentiments of the large majority of citizens in East Leicester, calling to alienate the jingoists and religious fundamentalists.

SFI UK urges the local council and government to investigate the role of far-right Hindutva organisations such as Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS-UK), the UK wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in the violence.

It is imperative that the activities of all such organisations that promote violent communalism in an attempt to undermine social harmony are curtailed to avoid future tensions.

Students’ Federation of India – United Kingdom

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