Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Daily Mail Claim India Stoked Leicester Riots – I call ‘BS’

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 17th May 2023 06:26 EDT

The Daily Mail decided to run with this headline “Violent ethnic clashes in Leicester last year 'were stoked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party', sources claim; sources claim that those in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to incite violence”

While the article presents a compelling narrative of alleged interference by Indian political activists in UK community tensions, it's important to critically evaluate the sources and evidence provided. The article relies heavily on unnamed "UK security sources" and "elements close to Indian prime minister Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)". The lack of specific attribution makes it difficult to assess the credibility of these sources.

The only security sources of importance would be the security services themselves, and they would not be in the business of speaking to the Daily Mail. During the clashes I was interviewed on GB News – the piece went somewhat viral. You’d expect someone would have whispered in my ear what to say. I spoke to people on the ground in Leicester. I spoke to politicians, Government officials. Yet no one lobbied the narrative the paper alleges. Rather the consistent message was that UK police must counter Islamist radicals and the Government policy of ‘Prevent’ in arresting radicalisation is useless and Leicester evidence of it.

Moreover, the article mentions evidence of BJP-linked activists using closed WhatsApp groups to incite protests, but it doesn't provide any concrete examples or direct quotes from these alleged messages. This lack of transparency raises questions about the veracity of these claims. There is a big difference between WhatsApp groups chatter speaking of anger and boots on the ground from little old ladies in saris outside mandirs being barraged with abuse from masked men in black as police look on. (And all WhatsApp groups are closed – so making it sound ominous for a story, isn’t responsible journalism).

The article also cites studies conducted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Network Contagion Research Institute, but it doesn't provide direct links to these studies or detailed information about their methodologies. This makes it difficult for readers to independently verify the findings.

Finally, the article suggests that the alleged interference is part of Mr Modi's desire to pose as the leader of Hindus across the world. This is a significant claim that requires substantial evidence to support. The article, however, doesn't provide any direct quotes or actions from Mr Modi or his party that would substantiate this claim.

In conclusion, while the article raises important questions about potential foreign interference in UK community tensions, it's crucial to approach these claims with a healthy degree of skepticism given the lack of named sources, concrete evidence, and transparency in the reporting. And when one considers the proximity of relations between the UK and India, it would be tantamount to saying the French would like to stoke UK community tensions.

Moreover, why? For what purpose? What history is there for this? Any precedent, anywhere in the world? Or are there adversaries and enemies of India jealous of her proximity with the UK? This past week alone the UK and Indian Armies conducted joint exercises; the same week a report stated the Russians are planting fake Koran burning stories in Sweden to encourage Turkey to block Sweden’s entry to Nato.

So, when it comes to UK-India, who’s the Russia in this? Whichever 3rd country it is, seems the journalists in their naivety have fallen for the trap.

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