From UK’s Leicester to New Jersey in the US, members of Hindu and Muslim communities have recently been protesting, threatening each other, and even clashing at places after incidents of vandalism.
In US’ New Jersey, a bulldozer with pictures of Prime Minister Modi and the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was part of a parade, triggering protests by rights groups.
The President of the Indian Business Association, the organiser of the parade, had to apologise for offending Indian-American minority groups, especially Muslims, in the local area and across the country, saying that “a parade should never be about divisive symbols”.
In India, bulldozers have been used as symbols of crackdown on protesters, including in some high profile cases with Muslim citizens.
To some Indian immigrants outraged by its presence, it represented a threat to the highest ideals of their adoptive country. But External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar took a dig at U.S. media for what he saw as biased coverage.
“I look at the media. You know, there are some newspapers you know, exactly, what they are going to write including one in this town,” Dr S Jaishankar told a gathering of Indian-Americans from across the country amid applause on Sunday.
“I think the way facts are slanted, things are laid out. What is right, what is wrong, is confused. This is actually politics at work,” the External Affairs Minister added.
In UK’s Leicester, for decades, Muslim and Hindu communities have lived side by side but now tensions are rising. Recently, a group of around 300 young masked men, reportedly Hindus, marched and sloganeered through a Muslim majority area. Reports stated clashes between India and Pakistan cricket fans gradually brewed into communal violence.
A large group of men, reportedly Muslim, followed the marchers to Belgrave Road, a majority Hindu area, where violence ensued, including a flag being torn down outside a temple and another burned.
While the local MP urged that ministers needed to “clamp down on extremist right-wing ideology”, some residents admit some migrants from India may have failed to integrate into the community. But this new violence between sections of British South Asian communities is alarming.
Many Indians abroad, including analysts as well as those back home, highlight that such incidents illustrate India’s political strife and point to the detrimental impact of religious tensions seeping into communities beyond the boundaries of our country.