UK minister visits Leicester as tensions persist

Published September 23, 2022
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman met police officials in Leicester on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman met police officials in Leicester on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

KARACHI: British Home Secretary Suella Braverman met police officials in Leicester on Thursday amid persistent tensions between Muslims and Hindus after the Aug 28 Pakistan-India match at the Asia Cup, according to the BBC.

Police have arrested 47 people over the past three weeks as young men from the two communities take to the streets almost every day, bringing fear and anxiety to the populace.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan described the events in Leicester as “ugly” and called for solidarity.

“British Hindus and British Muslims have far more in common than that which divides us and we should be eternally on our guard against extremist forces who seek to stoke up tensions between our communities for their own selfish ends,” he said.

Police said they would arrest and charge more people over the coming weeks.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “I can confirm the Home Secretary visited Leicester today and was briefed by Chief Constable Rob Nixon and other senior officers.” praised police for their handling of the protesters.

Police have taken flak from some circles for “appearing to support the protesters” after videos were circulated online which showed officers walking alongside them.

“I am making clear that police did not support an unplanned protest in East Leicester,” Rob Nixon, the chief constable, said.

“My officers were dispatched in order to try to engage and seek cooperation. They were confronted by over 300 people while there were eight officers at the time.

“They did the best they could in the circumstances by staying with them until more officers could arrive. That is what videos on social media show.”

Mr Nixon spoke about video footage that appeared to show a flag being pulled down outside a temple last week and set on fire.

Police were looking into the matter, he added, and “appeal to anyone with information to contact us”.

Three charged

Three people have been charged for the violence over the weekend after they appeared in court. Amos Noronha, 20, pleaded guilty to possession of an “offensive weapon” and was jailed for 10 months.

Adam Yusuf, 21, admitted he had a “bladed article” and was sentenced to a year in prison. He was further ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Lukman Patel, 31, pleaded not guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and causing “racially aggravated distress”. He is expected to stand trial on Nov 11.

An official informed the magistrate that Adam Yusuf had been “influenced by social media” about the violence near his neighbourhood and was “upset”.

The chief constable, too, said social media was spreading “fake news”.

“I suspect that social media has played a significant part in raising fear, raising concern,” he told the BBC.

Police suspect some of those involved in the Leicester disorder had come from Birmingham and Luton.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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