Listen to this article:
London: India on Monday strongly condemned violence against the Indian community and vandalisation of Hindu premises in the eastern England city of Leicester as it sought immediate action against those involved in these attacks.
In a statement, the high commission of India here said it had “strongly” taken up the issue and called for protection for those affected from the UK authorities following reports of clashes over the weekend in the city, described as “serious disorder” by the local police.
There have been reports of clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups in the city since fans clashed following an India-Pakistan Asia Cup cricket match at the end of last month.
“We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion,” the high commission statement read.
“We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authorities and have sought immediate action against those involved in these attacks. We call on the authorities to provide protection to the affected people,” the statement said.
Leicestershire Police said its operation in the east Leicester area affected by the disorder continues to prevent any further disorder, with 15 people arrested.
“The impact this disorder is having on our local communities is not acceptable,” the police said in a statement.
“We will not tolerate violence, disorder or intimidation in Leicester, and we continue to call for calm and dialogue. Our police operations and investigations continue with rigour and at scale,” it said.
The force said a number of neighbouring police forces, including the mounted police unit, had been deployed to bring matters under control. Dispersal and stop and search powers were also used to restore calm.
“Officers became aware of groups of young men gathering on Sunday afternoon in the North Evington area of the city. Officers spoke to them and took steps, including putting in place a temporary police cordon, to minimise harm and disturbance to communities,” the police said.
It followed clashes on Saturday evening, when the police said it became aware of a video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester, and said the incident would be investigated. Videos circulating on social media showed a temple flag being ripped out.
Police had imposed similar dispersal orders earlier this month after a few days of unrest in the wake of India versus Pakistan match in Dubai on August 28. The police and community leaders have been calling for calm over the past few weeks, amid reports of men coming in from other cities of the UK to stoke disorder in Leicester.
“It’s mostly young men in their late teens and early 20s and I have heard suggestions people have come in (to the city) from outside looking for an opportunity to have a set to. It’s very worrying for people in the areas where this has happened,” said Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester city mayor.
(With PTI inputs)