Some Muslims were angry that the Durga Bhawan Hindu Centre in Smethwick had invited Sadhvi Rithambara, founder of Param Shakti Peeth and Vatsalyagram, to speak there, even though her event was cancelled last week. Whilst the Muslims gathered took credit for cancelling it, on September 16 her NGO, Param Shakti Peeth, posted on Facebook that her event was postponed owing to ill health.
Bottles, missiles and fireworks were thrown as men wearing black balaclavas and shouting “Allahu Akbar” approached the temple fence where they were met by police officers in riot gear carrying batons. A small congregation from the Hindu temple waited in the temple grounds looking intimidated and filming the men on their mobiles.
In one video of the disorder, a masked protester issues a threat saying: “This is a message from Birmingham to the BJP and the RSS Hindutva supporters. You are not welcome in Birmingham, Leicester or anywhere in the UK. If you invite any hate preachers we are going to turn up for all of them. We have got no issue with Hindus that are from Britain, but the rest of you BJP/RSS freshies if you come in, we will meet you.”
West Midlands police said: “We had a pre-planned police presence near the temple in Spon Lane where fireworks and missiles were thrown towards some of our officers. Thankfully no one was injured. We’re also looking into reports of a small number of cars being damaged.” An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife.
The poster advertising the protest had called on “all Muslims from all backgrounds” to attend a “peaceful protest against these Hindus that are attacking innocent Muslims” and listed the Hindu temple as the “Durga BJP/RSS centre”, saying, “Let us show them our unity and strength.”
Foreign minister S Jaishankar raised the issue with UK foreign secretary James Cleverly during their discussions on the sidelines of a UNGA meeting in New York.
Shared my concern about the security and welfare of the Indian community in UK. Welcomed his assurances in that regard.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) 1663799098000
Alok Kumar, working president of the VHP, has sent a letter to UK PM Liz Truss expressing alarm at how Hindus, their places of worship and religious symbols are being targeted, pointing out many parents in Leicester have not sent their children to school in recent days. The letter adds that a strong but fake narrative is being constructed that it is the Hindus, the ones who are being assaulted, who are to blame.
The Indian high commission in London put out a statement earlier in the week strongly condemning the violence perpetrated “against the Indian community in Leicester” and vandalisation of Hindu symbols. But Zara Mohammed, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has since fired off a letter to Indian high commissioner Vikram Kumar Doraiswami criticising this response, saying: “Whilst it is right that we condemn the desecration of Hindu symbols, you must represent all Indians and also condemn the deliberate targeting, intimidation and instances of assault of Muslims and Sikhs by large groups of thugs chanting far-right Hindutva slogans, mirroring tactics used by the RSS against communities in India.”
UK: Mob vandalises temple as Hindu Muslim violence rocks Leicester again
The Pakistan high commission in London has issued a statement condemning the violence “unleashed against the Muslims” of Leicester.
When the faith leaders of both communities issued an impassioned plea from the steps of the Jame’ Masjid in Leicester on Tuesday calling for “immediate cessation of provocation and violence”, the statement, read by Pradyumna Pradipgajjar of the Iskcon Hindu temple, said: “Leicester has no place for foreign extremist ideology that causes division.” The MCB also claimed the groups behind the Leicester violence were “attempting to import a political ideology from India”.
So far two young men have been sentenced for the Leicester violence, which on Saturday night led to 16 police officers and a police dog being injured. Adam Yusuf (21) was the second to be sentenced for the ongoing violence when on Tuesday he received a suspended jail sentence after admitting carrying a knife at the Sunday protest, saying he had been “influenced by social media”.
Watch Muslim community gheraos Hindu temple in Birmingham, stages protest against invitation to Sadhvi Rithambara