UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has received a letter from 180 Hindu organisations and temples in Britain that requests her to intervene and protect them from communally targeted crime, as they feel threatened in the country following the violence in Leicester and Birmingham. The representatives have made six appeals, including one of ensuring sufficient security is provided to the Hindu community in the short and long terms.
“We write to draw your attention to the recent disturbances in Leicester, Birmingham and other towns which have greatly distressed the Indian and Hindu communities in the UK. 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,” the letter reads.
Organisations like the National Council of Hindu Temples, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Sanstha UK, Indian National Students Association UK, Iskcon Manchester, Overseas Friends of BJP (UK), the Hindu Lawyers Association (UK) and Insight UK have signed the open letter that says the Hindus have made the United Kingdom home for more than half a century. "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,” the letter said.
The representatives say the Hindu community lives in a “state of fear”. While some families have already left the neighbourhood, many more are preparing to relocate. It is worth noting that a small, but highly organised band of radical Islamists took full advantage of the community tensions that existed between this marginalised Hindu community and their Muslim neighbours, which had previously lived in peace. A storm of misinformation was wilfully created on social media with open incitement for violence against Hindus, they said.
Underlining their appeals, the letter says, “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.”
It adds, “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 tension between the communities following an India-Pakistan cricket match of the Asia Cup in August-end led to a spate of Muslim attacks on Hindus in the eastern England city of Leicester in September.