UK Opposition group calls out baseless narratives’ behind Leicester clashes

London: An Indian diaspora-focused organisation of the UK Opposition Labour Party has warned that baseless narratives are being pushed out by extremist groups behind the recent clashes involving some Muslims and Hindus in the city of Leicester.
The Labour Convention of Indian Organisations (LCIO) issued a statement on Wednesday to say that it had spoken to the people in Leicester in the days since an India-Pakistan cricket match at the end of last month led to serious disorder and 47 arrests.
The group said it had established that problematic claims, such as the alleged involvement of forces in India, had caused a localised issue to spill over into Birmingham, where instances of a masked crowd chanting intimidating slogans and throwing objects outside a Hindu temple took place earlier this week.
Having spoken to locals, it seems extremist groups are pushing three baseless narratives: That diversity in the UK has failed; that the disturbances are being orchestrated by forces from India; and that historic differences mean that we can’t live together peacefully as one community, the LCIO statement notes.
These are problematic as this will only polarise a once harmonious community, even further. These narratives have caused a local issue to spill over into places such as Birmingham. Community leaders from all sides are pleading for an end to this violence so that Leicester and its people may live in peace again. Now is the time for people regardless of identity, politics and background to come together on this issue, the statement reads.
The LCIO was revived by Indian-origin Labour MP Navendu Mishra on Indian Independence day last month and has the declared aim of connecting British Indians to the Labour Party and to engage with India on the big issues of the day.
We at LCIO are not after votes or political point scoring, but have spoken with people in Leicester and are relaying their concerns, the LCIO statement added.
It came as Leicestershire Police Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon issued an open letter to update that the police investigation into the clashes over the weekend remains ongoing and appealed for information.
He said: There is also a video on social media of a flag being pulled down outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester, on Saturday. We are investigating this. My officers were dealing with a large crowd directly in front of them at the time and were not able to reach the person in the building.
Any incident involving a place of worship is very important. We continue to appeal for information related to this incident and all other matters during the disorder.
The police chief indicated that more arrests are expected as he said his officers will continue to work with the local communities and organisations to restore harmony in east Leicester.
There was an escalation of clashes in that area of the city, with one of the UK’s largest South Asian origin populations, since the India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match in Dubai on August 28.
When a protest over the weekend turned violent, videos were circulating on social media showing crowds of men facing off and throwing bottles as police officers attempted to restore order.
Earlier this week, local community leaders came together outside a mosque in the city to appeal for harmony and the diplomatic missions of both India and Pakistan have since registered condemnation of violence directed at their respective diaspora communities.

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