• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Leicester: Welsh police drafted in to beef up security for smooth Diwali celebrations

Police force confirmed that 61 people have been arrested in connection with the Leicester communal violence.

Representative image (iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A Diwali lights switch-on event passed off peacefully in Leicester over the weekend as police officers from South Wales patrolled the city’s Belgrave area which had witnessed group clashes recently.

The celebrations, marking the arrival of the festival of lights, began on Sunday evening at Cossington Recreation Ground which hosted the Diwali Village, a programme featuring cultural and entertainment activities.

Leicestershire Police, however, did not comment on whether the reinforcement was linked to the violent confrontations between Hindu and Muslim groups in the city in August and September.

A spokesman told LeicestershireLive that the local police were provided “mutual aid support” by other forces.

Temporary chief constable Rob Nixon said it was “wonderful” to see that communities could come together for the celebrations even as officers continued their “high-visibility patrols” engaging with families.

The security arrangements would be in place for Diwali Day on October 24, he said as the force urged people not to share any unconfirmed information on social media.

“This evening, the Diwali light switch-on took place peacefully with officers providing a visible but reassuring presence,” Leicestershire Police tweeted on Sunday.

“Our officers spoke to many families at the light switch-on who were grateful to see and chat with them,” the social media post read.

It also said:“A reminder please to only share information on social media that you know to be true.”

Misinformation circulated on the internet is blamed for the escalation of the recent unrest in the diverse city.

The force confirmed that 61 people were arrested in connection with the violence as the investigation into the disorder continued.

“Our investigation team continues to work hard carrying out numerous volumes of enquiry to progress the investigations,” it said in a statement.

Diwali celebration in Leicester is known as one the biggest such events outside India. Sunday’s event heralded the first full-fledged celebrations of the festival after the pandemic restrictions were eased.

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