Leicester riot

The Hindu-Muslim riot in Leicester shows how the BJP is spreading its tentacles

The riot in Leicester was brought to an end after 47 were arrested, and 25 police officers and a police dog were injured. Apparently, the riot on Saturday started because of an unplanned protest by Hindu men on Saturday, with members of the two communities attacking each other. The starting point was the Pakistan-India match, which Pakistan won, thus making India exit the Asia Cup. There might be a quibble over the conflation of India with Hindus and Muslims with Pakistan, but it cannot be denied that the two countries’ diasporas abroad overwhelmingly belong to the respective religions. It was religious, not nationalistic, and it was happening in the UK. Hindu-chauvinist mobs attacked after asking a victim was Hindu or Muslim, even though the majority of Leicester’s Indians are Muslim, mostly from Gujarat, where Indian PM

Narendra Modi, as CM, presided over a riot in which 790 Muslims were killed.

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This riot is a tragedy, because it is destined to happen again. This is because the factors that caused it have not been addressed. The advent of the BJP in 2014 has been accompanied by spike in violence against Muslims, not to mention the series of steps against India’s only Muslim-majority state, Kashmir. The BJP has strong support among Indians abroad, who have apparently made their anti-Muslim position some sort of substitute for leaving India. Then there is the silence of the Western states over the BJP government’s violations of human rights, especially in Kashmir, but all over India, a silence resulting from their economic interests, because of their investments there and because it is a huge market.

Now they are paying the price. The law and order problem caused by India’s internal politics has reached their shores, and they should realize that it is their problem, not India’s. Islamophobia is no longer just a Western problem, but an Indian as well. It is perhaps too much for anyone to expect the BJP to see reason, but if the Western countries could apply the sort of economic pressure the UAE did over the recent blasphemy issue, they will find they could persuade Mr Modi to ease the anti-Muslim pressure, and thus solve a problem they have created for themselves.

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The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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