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UK: Indian high commission condemns Hindu-Muslim clash in Leicester

London: The High Commission of India in the UK on Monday condemned the violence against the Indian community which took place on September 17 in Leicester town.

In a press release, it said, “We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated against the Indian Community in Leicester and vandalization of premises and symbols of the Hindu religion.”

Trouble started on September 17 when a group of men (allegedly Hindutva affiliated) marched through the city’s Green Lane Road area chanting “Jai Shree Ram”. Leicester is a heavily Muslim-dominated area.

According to a report by The Guardian, the mob “came past the mosques, taunting the community and physically beat people up randomly.” Clashes broke out between the two communities, following which 27 persons were arrested in what the police termed as a “series of disturbances.”

A Muslim journalist working in The Guardian was heckled by a few Hindu men, one of them a supporter of the right-wing organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) while reporting the violence in the city. Leicester was tense for a day after the incident as well.

In a series of tweets, Aina J Khan, shared her harrowing experience of trying to make a conversation with the Hindu men at Leicester but in vain. According to her, the RSS supporter, holding an Indian flag, told her that India got her independence eight years ago in 2014, which is when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the central government.

“This man exuberantly professed how great and altruistic RSS was, a stone’s throw away from a statue of Gandhi that stands adjacent to a Hindu temple. The irony here being that Gandhi was assassinated by an RSS member (who the RSS claim had left by then),” said Khan in one of her tweets.

As he spoke, they were joined by another RSS supporter who started screaming at the journalist accusing her of her biased reporting because of her religious identity. Soon another person joined in and all three raised their voice as she tried to navigate the conversation.

“In short, I was accused of being a member of the Taliban, an extremist, playing the victim card. I was accused of not scrutinising Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities and fixating on India’s treatment of its minorities, of ignoring how Muslims are raping everyone,” said another of her tweet after she covered the incident at leicester.