London Diary: BJP’s links with Leicester riots

New details have emerged of how right-wing Hindu nationalist groups operating in Leicester received support from Far Right British racist elements during last month’s Hindu-Muslim riots

London Diary: BJP’s links with Leicester riots

Hasan Suroor

BJP’s links with Leicester riots

New details have emerged of how right-wing Hindu nationalist groups operating in Leicester received support from Far Right British racist elements during last month’s Hindu-Muslim riots triggered by a row over an India-Pakistan cricket match.

A Sunday Times investigation has revealed that BJP’s Nupur Sharma was in touch with Tommy Robinson, formerly of fascist British Nationalist Party (BNP) and English Defence League and currently with For Britain.

She was due to interview him for OpIndia website which she edits, but it was called off after “British Hindus contacted Sharma to warn that the interview could inflame tensions”, the paper said.

Earlier, she had reportedly tweeted that she would be interviewing Robinson to “call out blatant Islamic violence in Leicester”. “Hindus need allies, and we don’t have the luxury of perfection when Hinduphobia is so mainstream,” she wrote.

Robinson, who was once convicted on charges of race hate, recently launched what The Sunday Times described as a “passionate defence of British Hindus” saying in a video blog: “We have all grown up with Hindus. We know who they are, we know how peaceful they are.”

He said he was looking to rally football fans to travel to Leicester to protect Hindus from an “onslaught from Pakistani Muslims” following clashes in Leicester between the two groups earlier in September triggered by a cricket game between Pakistan and India.

“It’s the Pakistani Muslims coming in from Birmingham, it’s the Pakistani Muslims travelling from different cities to attack Indian Hindus, to terrorise them in their homes and to target their women,” said Robinson. On the social media site Gettr, he said he had contacted members of the Hindu community, offering support and protection from across the UK.

“Robinson comes from a part of the far right that sees Islam as its main priority. They are very happy to take the side of Hindu extremists,” said Nick Lowles, of Hope Not Hate, an anti-extremist think tank.

Robinson has been reportedly hobnobbing with Hindu activists for the past several years in a bid to forge a common anti-Islam alliance. “It might seem like a strange alliance but it is strategic — they both share a common enemy... Islam. Both movements share a lot of sincere similarities—they can be authoritarian and illiberal,” Christophe Jaffrelot, professor of Indian politics at King’s College London, told Sunday Times.

Meanwhile, fears of a wider fallout of Leicester riots have not materialised. But that doesn’t mean the threat has gone away. It’s clear now that what happened in Leicester was not an accident but involved an element of planning on both sides.

Watch this space.

London Diary: BJP’s links with Leicester riots

'Khandaan' leads the way

There are more cultural affinities between Indian and Pakistani expats than what right-wing nationalists would have us believe. A government study of family patterns in Britain found that Asian-descent families tend to be more stable than their white peers. This is because they are far more likely to be headed by a married couple.

As many as 87 per cent of Indian families are in the “married or civil partnership” category followed by Pakistanis at 80 per cent. Bangladeshis led the pack with 88 per cent. There are far more single-parent households among white British families but black African and Caribbean families are worst-affected by the breakdown of the traditional family system.

A stable family environment means that Indians tend to do better educationally and economically.

London Diary: BJP’s links with Leicester riots

Heard of brown-on-black racism?

Amid all the talk of white racism, here’s a story of a less well-known strain of racism: brown-on-black racism.

Rupa Huq, Labour Party’s Bangladeshiorigin MP, suddenly finds herself in the eye of a political and media storm and accused of racism. This follows her remarks describing Britain’s new Chancellor of Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng as only “superficially black” because of his posh background.

“He’s a black man but again he’s got more in common... he went to Eton, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through top schools in the hear him you wouldn’t know he’s black,” she said at a meeting during Labour’s annual party conference in Liverpool.

She has been forced to apologise and has been suspended by her party pending a disciplinary investigation. Her remarks have particularly embarrassed fellow nonwhite politicians used to calling out white racism. “Rather than give encouragement to racists and people who seek to divide us, she should know better,” said Tory MP Sajid Javid.

London Diary: BJP’s links with Leicester riots

What? Another election?

Britain may be headed for another election—its fourth in seven years—amid a chaotic start to Liz Truss’s prime ministership. She came to power after a two-month long acrimonious Tory leadership election but knives are already out as her “bold” economic plan to deal with a crippling cost-of-living crisis plunged the economy into further turmoil as her main rival Rishi Sunak had warned. Labour Party is a whopping 33 per cent ahead in the polls, and if elections were to be held “tomorrow” Tories would lose.

And, lastly, apparently more babies are conceived in Britain in the weeks leading up to Christmas and in its immediate aftermath than at any other time of the year. Draw your own conclusions.

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