The Daily Telegraph

Pakistan and India demand action over violence in Leicester

Leaders call for police to tackle tensions between Hindus and Muslims that flared after cricket match

- By Martin Evans crime Editor Jill Kirby: Page 18

THE government­s of India and Pakistan have demanded immediate action to tackle ongoing disorder between Hindus and Muslims in Leicester.

A series of increasing­ly violent clashes between youths from the two communitie­s has resulted in 25 police officers being injured and 47 arrests.

Trouble initially flared after a T20 cricket match between India and Pakistan that was played in Dubai on Aug 28.

But residents claim tensions have been simmering for months, fuelled by inflammato­ry rhetoric coming out of the sub-continent.

Members of the Muslim community in Leicester claim that British-based Hindu nationalis­ts – who are supporters of Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister – have been stirring up trouble by marching through their areas chanting racist slogans.

But Hindus in the city have blamed Muslim outsiders, who they claim have travelled to Leicester from other cities including Bradford and Birmingham, to whip up unrest.

Videos posted on social media have further inflamed tensions with unsubstant­iated reports of attacks on mosques and temples.

The violence, which came to a head on Saturday night, has been front page news in Hindu nationalis­t-supporting newspapers in India.

Police and community leaders in Leicester have appealed for calm but there are fears that yesterday’s interventi­on from Delhi and Islamabad could further sour fragile relations.

The Indian ministry of external affairs said: “We strongly condemn the violence perpetrate­d against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisat­ion of premises and symbols of Hindu religion.

“We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authoritie­s and have sought immediate action against those involved in these attacks. We call on the authoritie­s to provide protection to the affected people.”

The Pakistan High Commission in London also issued a statement which claimed the Muslim community in Leicester was being subjected to Islamophob­ia. It said: “We strongly condemn the campaign of violence and intimidati­on that has been unleashed against the Muslims of the area. This is not the first time such Islamophob­ic incidents have been reported in Leicester.”

The High Commission said it had confidence in the UK authoritie­s to deal with those responsibl­e and called on all communitie­s to “refrain from actions that inflame religious sentiment and undermine societal harmony”.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, described the troubles as a “dark episode” in a city famed for its diversity. He said: “Attempts to sow division including by those with extremist views will fail and are totally condemned across Leicester. We utterly condemn violent incidents on our streets; marches with provocativ­e slogans inciting hate; attacks on places of worship, symbols or religion.”

Rob Nixon, Leicesters­hire’s temporary Chief Constable said: “We will not stand for this unrest in our city. There is an extensive policing operation ongoing, acting on informatio­n and reports of gatherings and offering community reassuranc­e. We are working to keep you safe and to arrest and bring to justice those that are causing harm in our communitie­s.”

‘We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authoritie­s and have sought action against those involved in these attacks’

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