India’s cricket win over Pakistan on August 28 at the Asian Cup to be held in Dubai still echoes in the streets of East Leicester. After the game, young people from the city took to the streets and clashed with each other. Despite calls from the police, the city council and local religious leaders, the city was once again unsettled on Saturday evening. The police speak of ‘serious disturbances’. Dozens of people have been arrested in recent weeks.
In Leicester (population 440,000), which is located in the center of England, more than a third of the inhabitants have an Asian background. About 15 percent of the inhabitants are Hindu (the largest religion in India), 18 percent are Muslim (the main religion in Pakistan). Tensions have been going on for decades between the two countries.
In recent weeks, young people from both ethnic groups in Leicester have taken to the streets and attacked each other. Residents of Leicester speak to British media about ‘large groups of young people walking through the streets with scarves over their faces and hoody’s over their heads’. The unrest was also fueled by a video on social media of someone pulling a flag from a religious building in the city.
This havoc is caused by groups of disaffected young people. We have to make it clear to them that this has to stop.
Sanjiv Patel, a leader of the local Hindu temple, tells the BBC “all groups have lived in harmony in Leicester for the past few years.” “But it has become clear in recent weeks that we need to sit down to discuss what people are unhappy about. Violence is not the solution.”
A local Muslim leader, Suleman Nagdi, also calls for calm. “What we see happening on the street is alarming. Cricket matches between India and Pakistan have often led to riots here, but it has never been as bad as it is now. This havoc is caused by groups of disaffected young people. We have to make it clear to them that this has to stop.”
The police will be present in the city “with a significant number of people” in the coming weeks, a spokesman said.
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