More than two hundred people gathered at a Hindu temple in Leicester to pray for peace following recent disturbances in the city.
Local councillors joined the police and other members of the community at the Shree Hanuman Temple next to Rushey Fields on Melton Road to offer prayers to Lord Hanumanji to help bring about peace and ‘shanti’ in the city.
A four-hour ’21 Hanuman Chalisa’ was recited followed by some traditional food (‘Prasad’).
Secretary Raj Patel said: “We have been as shocked as everyone about recent events in Leicester and condemn all acts of intimidation and violence.
“Hanuman Ji is held in the hearts of Hindus for his selflessness, refined intellect and devotion to righteousness.
“For many years all the diverse communities in the city have lived peacefully together and we wanted to hold a special service to recognise this.
“Peace is at the core of our teachings and we are continuing to work with local councillors, residents and the police to maintain calm in the community.
“We feel reassured of the plans which are in place so that we can enjoy the upcoming festivals in safety.”
East Leicester has been the origin of recent disorder and violence in recent weeks, between a minority of young people in the Muslim and Hindu communities.
So far, 49 people have been arrested over offences related to the disorder, and nine have been charged.
Leicestershire Police has urged people to prepare for Navratri and Diwali as normal, despite the recent unrest.
Speaking last night, Rob Nixon, temporary chief constable for Leicestershire Police spoke out to appeal for ongoing peace in the city.
“What has been taking place over the last few weeks has saddened me. It’s personally upset me, because that is not the city that I am emotionally connected to,” he said.
“It is a small minority of people, and I’ve been describing it as the ‘noisy minority who are dominating the space, particularly on social media.
“I believe the vast majority of people in Leicester are appalled by what’s been taking place, and I genuinely believe that we want it to stop,” he added.
“The way through this is to stick together and I just encourage that silent majority to speak out. Let’s not tolerate the small minority that ruin the reputation of this wonderful city.”