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UK: Renewed inter-religious violence breaks out between Muslim, Hindu communities in Leicester

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Local community leaders called for calm after a renewed disturbance among young men from sections of the Muslim and Hindu residents in Leicester, in the English East Midlands, despite a strong police presence in the area.

The latest incident broke out on Saturday and into Sunday, with police responding to hold back violent crowds that flared up after “an unplanned protest”, the BBC reported. It was unclear what sparked the protest.

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Police said that most of those involved were in their late teens and early 20s.

A woman who witnessed the disturbances said there were people wearing balaclavas and other face coverings, and with hoods pulled up, the BBC reported.

She told the new agency they were “just everywhere, it was like crowds walking away from a football match”.

“There were police blocking the road; officers literally stood shoulder to shoulder blocking Uppingham Road,” she said.

At least two arrests were made, one on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and another on suspicion of possession of a bladed article.

The weekend’s incident was the latest in a series of violent outbreaks in the area, including one that was reported on 28 August, after India defeated Pakistan in a cricket tournament in Dubai.

A significant police presence is expected to remain in the area in the coming days, the BBC reported.

‘We need calm’

Speaking to the BBC, Suleman Nagdi, of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations said: “What we have seen on the streets is very alarming.

“There have been problems in the community since the India and Pakistan cricket match, and while that game often sparks gatherings they have not in the past turned this ugly,” he said, referring to the Asia Cup tournament in which the two countries were among the competitors.

“We need calm. The disorder has to stop and it has to stop now. There are some very dissatisfied young men who have been causing havoc.

‘It has to stop now. There are some… young men who have been causing havoc’

– Suleman Nagdi, Federation of Muslim Organisations

“We need to get the message out that this must end and try to do this through parents and grandparents talking to their sons.”

Sanjiv Patel, who represents Hindu and Jain temples across Leicester, told the BBC that he was deeply saddened and shocked by Saturday night’s disorder.

He said: “We have lived in harmony in the city for many decades, but over the past few weeks it is clear there are things that need to be discussed around the table to get out what people are unhappy about.

“Resorting to violence is not the way to deal with this. We are horrified and deplore what was going on [yesterday] and across the last two weeks.

“Across the Hindu and Jain community and with our Muslim brothers and sisters and leaders we are consistently saying ‘calm minds, calm heads’.”

Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I don’t think anyone saw the confrontation as a likely outcome, and police had been given reassurance things were calming down a lot.

“Things got very nasty indeed last night, and I am very worried on behalf of the people who were caught up in it, and I was impressed by the way police responded to it. It can’t have been an easy task.”

“It’s very worrying for people in the areas where this has happened.”

Source: Middle East Eye

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