Leicester Violence: Another development was seen in the ongoing Leicester issue after an investigative report busted the claim of Hindutva organisations orchestrating the violence in the region. During the Leicester violence, several social media influencers claimed that BJP and RSS were involved in the matter.
The Henry Jackson Society report states, “A micro-community cohesion issue was falsely presented as an issue of organised Hindutva extremism and terrorism”.
Henry Jackson Report on Leicester Violence
As per the report, “most affected by the recent unrest have shared concerns over new migration into the area and the holding of loud festivals and anti-social behaviour”.
The above reason, along with the tension between Hindu and Muslim youth in Leicester has been described as the key to understanding the root of the unrest at a local level. The report highlighted several social media posts that derided the Hindu community for the loud festivals.
This, along with the tension built between sections of the Muslim and Hindu youth in Leicester, has been described as the key to understanding the issue.
Hindu Extremism behind Leicester Violence?
During the Leicester violence, several influential figures and mainstream media suggested that Hindu extremist organisations might have orchestrated the incident.
Several tweets accused Indian PM Narendra Modi of instructing organisations such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of infiltration in Leicester.
Abdirahim Saeed of BBC Monitoring stated that a large proportion of tweets about Leicester originated from accounts geolocated in the Indian subcontinent and that there were signs of inauthentic amplication.
The claim by the BBC journalist is debunked by the report “It does not appear that this infiltration pre-dated the marches and therefore does not look to be a pivotal reason for the initial unrest”.
A photo was widely circulated on social media claiming a group of Diu Daman Leicester young men were ‘Hindutva Terrorists’, ‘violent Hindu Nazis’ and ‘BJP youth.’
As per the report, the men in an interview with the author denied any involvement in politics and any association with BJP or RSS. The ‘men in the photo’ had also commented in the police incident report that they were “targeted at the Hindu festival and went on to organise the Hindu march”.
The incident report also discussed these allegations’ negative impact on their well-being. Some expressed that they have temporarily moved out of their homes or refrained from going outside for fear of getting physically and verbally assaulted.
The Role of Influencers
Activists with large social media followings either attended the marches and/or inflamed tensions via social media, spreading misinformation that inspired nationwide protests.
One such influencer, Noman Khan aka ‘Dutch Raja’ was a frequent commentator on social media about the issue in Leicester. The HJS report terms him as the lead instigator in the Leicester unrest.
He was featured in ‘British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld, a documentary series about the UK’s gangsters. His social media presence expresses his want to be viewed as involved with the D company and BMF.
On one of his highlight reels, named ‘Connect’, Noman Khan appears to show a video call with three other men, captioned ‘On call to D Company Ameen & Tanaji bhau jadhav Tiger Group India’.
In his highlights, he had also posted a tribute to Dawood Ibrahim, a top-wanted fugitive, accused of orchestrating 1991 bomb blasts in India.
Noman Khan in his social media posts had passed misinformation which led to inflammation of communal passions in Leicester.
Influencer Mohammed Hijab claimed he had seen on Twitter people ‘getting raped’ by a crowd in Leicester.
The video in which he makes the rape claim has 74.8k views, and the subsequent video including the threat to come out again should the ‘Hindutva’ ever come out again has 1.1 million views. In that video, he denigrates Hindus, celebrates street confrontations and calls for the crowd to come out against the ‘Hindutva’
On September 18, he posted a photo and a video of himself leading a group through Leicester, captioned ‘Muslim patrol in Leicester’, on Instagram.
Majid Freeman, another influencer, had levelled several allegations of violence against Muslims perpetrated by Hindus in Leicester. As per the report, they were later found to have no evidence.
In 2021 he posted prayers for Aafia Siddiqui, a woman charged with trying to shoot the US military in Afghanistan whilst shouting ‘death to all Americans’.
Islamic Organisations Band Against Henry Jackson Society
Several Muslim organisations and institutes of Leicester have condemned the Henry Jackson Society’s report.
‘Active Muslims Leicester’ posted a tweet with the statement of 50 Mosques, Muslim organisations & Islamic institutions in Leicester.
In their statement, they rejected the report of the Henry Jackson Society in the Leicester violence case.
Terming the think tank as ‘discredited’ and islamophobic’ the statement urged the Hindu community to “disassociate themselves from HJS and any other right-wing organisation which seeks to divide Leicester faith communities”.
The Islamic organisations also criticised Charlotte Littlewood, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, who was the author of the HJS report on Leicester violence.
The thorough report by Charlotte Littlewood and Henry Jackson Society has debunked the claim that RSS and Hindu extremist organisations were involved in the Leicester violence. The report also raises questions about the local administration and UK authorities who have failed to protect the rights of a community.