Earlier this evening the Guardian newspaper reported that Leicester’s Labour City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby is organising an “independent review” that will investigate the causes of the “violent clashes between groups of mainly Hindu and Muslim young men” that have occurred in our city. The newspaper article noted:
Sir Peter Soulsby said the review, which should be completed within weeks, will examine whether extremist groups and outside organisations encouraged the disturbances on Saturday and Sunday.
“We need to have an understanding of what happened, why it happened and whether it was motivated by extreme ideologies imported from elsewhere. We need to find out what we can do to intervene to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future,” Soulsby said.
…The idea of a cross-agency review was raised on Wednesday night at a meeting between members of the local community, the police and the council, Soulsby said.
“We will look to our local universities for someone to conduct the review, but the actual format and remit has not yet been finalised,” he said.
After the City Mayor’s earlier “bafflement,” this announcement represents an interesting development and potential step forward: but it will be critical that all interested parties, including representatives from our city’s trade union movement, are now involved in making sure that this investigation is undertaken in a clear and transparent manner that is willing and capable of reviewing the political roots of the ongoing tensions.
And in other related news we can be thankful that the Leicester Mercury (September 21) has finally acknowledged that the violence in Leicester has political deeper roots that merit further investigation, as was made clear by their headline “Why city unrest is about much more than cricket.” That said, while most of the Mercury article is not really worth reading, part of the piece accurately points out how:
Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby has since said he is “baffled” by the events over the weekend. And it is easy to be baffled, as the factors at play are much more complex than a simple rivalry between sport fans. And while the cricket match was seen as bringing the matter to wider public attention, a number of factors were at play long before the violence on August 28.
… But when a flashpoint incident takes place, whether that is the cricket match in Leicester or one of a number of other incidents in the run up to the spate of disorder, it can ignite simmering tensions which already exist and have for many years.
Some of the issues which give rise to the events at the weekend are undoubtedly international. Parts of Leicester celebrated India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s election wins in 2014 and 2019. But the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been heavily criticised over the treatment of Muslims and other minorities in India. Violence aimed at minorities in India has reportedly increased since Modi’s first term, fuelling tensions elsewhere.