England: Mob gathers outside Hindu temple, communal tensions rise
A mob of 200 people, purportedly belonging to the Muslim community, assembled outside a Hindu temple in Smethwick, England on Tuesday, reports said. Videos showed the mob gathered outside the Hindu temple close to Leicester, where tensions have been high since the August 28th India-Pakistan match. Earlier, a large group of men chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' had passed through the city's Muslim-dominated area.
- England has been infamous for hooliganism post football matches. Last year, massive chaos occurred at the Wembley Stadium, London, after a football match between England and Italy.
- Similarly, cricket matches between India and Pakistan have often caused tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities residing in both nations.
- However, the developments in Leicester and Smethwick are unusual because diaspora populations almost never witness such violence.
British media said that about 200 people gathered outside the Durga Bhawan Hindu Centre in Smethwick, West Milds, on Tuesday. Reportedly, the crowds could also be heard chanting slogans that sounded similar to 'Allahu Akbar.' Some protesters allegedly also climbed on the walls of the temple. However, the police were able to restore order after a while.
BREAK: Around 200 people, mainly Muslims, have arrived outside the Durga Bhawan Hindu Centre in Smethwick, West Mids - one bottle has been thrown although the situation has calmed slightly for now. There is a growing police presence @SkyNews pic.twitter.com/uLzKrsiqVi— Dan Whitehead (@danwnews) September 20, 2022
According to Birmingham World, a social media page 'Apna Muslims' had organized 'peaceful protest' outside the temple. On Saturday, a group of masked men were seen marching through Green Lane Road chanting 'Jai Shri Ram,' The Guardian reported. The same night, videos showed alleged Hindu mobs throwing glass bottles on Belgrave Road. The police have arrested 47 people amid 'serious disorder' in Leicester city.
Priest of the Durga Bhawan temple told Birmingham World, "We are pleasant people and false allegations have been spread. People from all communities come to our temple." The temple authorities informed the police about the gathering and said that there has been no trouble between communities so far. They alleged that this was an attempt to create a "Leicester-like" situation.
Meanwhile, leaders on both sides of the religious spectrum have asked for communities to maintain peace. On Tuesday morning, Hindu and Muslim community leaders gathered outside a mosque in Leicester and urged for calm, harmony, and peace. The groups also called for an immediate end to "violence and provocation," India Today reported. Earlier, the Indian High Commission also called for protection of those affected.
Residents of Leicester say that they have never seen such unrest in the community. In a statement on Twitter, police officials said, "We will not tolerate violence or disorder in our city. A significant police operation will remain in the area in the coming days."