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British Hindus set to take on BBC over ‘Hinduphobic’ coverage of Leicester violence

Leicester Police reported 'significant aggression' as dozens of officers were injured during the violence (Photo: IANS)

Hindus in the UK are gearing up once again to hold a protest, this time against the BBC for allegedly peddling an anti-Hindu agenda and for being “Hinduphobic”.

The protest to be held on October 29 will take place in front of the BBC Broadcasting House, Portland, in London. A Twitter campaign has been launched by Hindus in the UK to gather larger numbers of people for the protest.

British Hindu organisations have alleged that targeted misinformation on social media platforms was amplified by mainstream British media—The Guardian and the BBC, that fueled violence against the Hindu community in Leicester—a city long known for its multi-cultural harmony over decades.

India Narrative spoke with people in the UK about the planned protest. They are hoping it will be bigger as compared to the earlier one as more people are expected to join.

“The BBC has a history of portraying India and the Hindus in a negative way so this will be much bigger as students, the working class and Indian community groups have combined to stage this protest”, said one of the organisers.

He said Indians will carry out the protest against the BBC‘s “Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu agenda”, adding that the Hindus want to send out a strong message that media in the UK are not portraying the correct picture of what happened in Leicester and Birmingham.

The planned protest against the BBC follows a similar protest against The Guardian newspaper in late September, in which Indians held placards outside the newspaper’s office over publishing “articles on India and Hindus which depict them as intolerant and extremists”. The protesters even alleged that biased coverage against Hindus is now leading to attacks on the Hindu community.

The community even submitted a memorandum to The Guardian‘s editor, Katharine Viner, how the Indian community has sheltered persecuted minorities from different parts of the world for over 2,000 years. The memorandum said: “Most of the articles do not even try to hide their extreme targeting of Hindus. There are outright lies and innuendos written by your correspondents. There is scant respect for journalistic standards. This hate is now spilling over in the UK and Hindus and their places of worship are being targeted”.

The pushback by the Hindus in the UK began after the community was attacked in nearly three weeks of continuous but sporadic incidents of violence in Leicester, in which a temple flag was burnt, Hindu houses were damaged and people threatened. Investigations have revealed that the attacks on the Hindus were part of a strategy in which fake posts about Muslims being assaulted were shared on social media. Hindu groups in both Leicester and London said that this misinformation was published by the British media without verifying, therefore, giving credence to lies.

The unprecedented violence was also targeted at local police personnel, scores of whom were injured. After investigations, the Leicester Police also debunked a number of lies that were used to fan violence against the Hindus. The police has arrested and is investigating a total of 61 people for the violence.

Some Hindu activists have said that radical Muslims who had been brought into Leicester from as far as London and also Birmingham threatened to cleanse Hindus from the city in the same manner in which the community had been pushed out of Kashmir by terrorists and their sympathisers in the 1990s.

The unabated tensions and repeated violence even brought the newly-appointed UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman to Leicester to interact with the police and the various communities. Stern action by the police, which had to bring in reinforcements from outside Leicester, brought calm to the city.