• Sunday, April 14, 2024


‘We feel like a community that is under siege’: 180 Hindu groups write open letter to PM Truss

“Although the causes of what happened in Leicester are many and complex, the bottom line is that a marginalised Hindu community has been targeted through violence and intimidation.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss (Photo by Daniel Leal-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Several British Indian organisations have collectively urged prime minister Liz Truss to ensure security for the Hindu community which is “living in a state of fear” following the recent violence in the country.

Some 180 entities, including the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Sanstha UK, said the Hindus “feel like a community that is under siege” because of “open violence, intimidation and abuse”.

Tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups in Leicester came to head during the celebrations of India’s victory over Pakistan in a T20 match played in Dubai in August this year. The unruly incidents were followed by further violence in September resulting in the arrests of dozens of suspected troublemakers. The confrontations, which police said were fuelled by falsehood on social media, also echoed elsewhere in England.

In their letter, the organisations made six appeals to the prime minister including an active investigation of the most recent crimes against the Hindu community and financial support for the victims of riots.

They sought to draw Truss’ attention to the recent disturbances in Leicester, Birmingham and other towns which “have greatly distressed the Indian and Hindu communities in the UK.”

Their letter said, “Hatred towards the Hindu community is at an all-time high, to the point where there has been open violence, intimidation, and abuse levelled at Hindus through physical assaults, harassment on social media, and most recently through soft targeting in schools and the workplace.”

It went on: “We are less than two per cent of the population, and yet, our contribution, of which you no doubt are aware, is significantly higher both in terms of socio-economic contribution to the British economy and by way of social integration as well as upholding our progressive British values. The Hindu community is one of the most law-abiding, as evidenced by the imprisonment statistics. Yet, today, we feel like a community that is under siege. As a last resort, we write to you to draw your attention to our plight, and the long-term consequences of what is unfolding.”

“You must be aware of the violence in Leicester and the aggressive protests outside a temple in Birmingham as well as the vicious attempts to harass the Hindu community in Nottingham and outside London’s iconic Sanatan Mandir in Wembley. Although the causes of what happened in Leicester are many and complex, the bottom line is that a marginalised Hindu community has been targeted through violence and intimidation.”

It urged the government “first, to ensure that the police are actively investigating the most recent crimes against the Hindu community as set out in this letter; second, to declare and ensure financial support is provided for the victims of these riots, including businesses in Leicester that have been vandalised during the riots and third, to commission an independent investigation into anti-Hindu hatred and its causes.”

“Fourth, to recognise the threat of British homegrown extremism and how certain parts of Britain have become hubs of radicalisation; fifth, help us fund training for teachers so that they are aware of and can identify and deal with anti-Hindu hatred in schools; and sixth, to ensure that sufficient security is provided to the Hindu community both in the short-term and long-term, including sufficient security during the celebration of Diwali around the UK,” the letter said.

Organisations including the National Council of Hindu Temples, Indian National Students Association UK, Iskcon Manchester, Overseas Friends of BJP (UK), the Hindu Lawyers Association (UK), and Insight UK also signed the letter.

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