Hindus caught in backlash after July 7 terror attacks


By Jason Bennetto Crime Correspondent 
Published: 04 January 2006 

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article336392.ece

A rising number of Hindus are the victims of hate
crimes, partly as a backlash from the London suicide
bombings, Britain's largest Hindu organisation has
said. 

A telephone hotline to report attacks is being set up
to help the 700,000 Hindus in this country.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum
of Britain, said "hate crime" incidents ranged from
verbal and physical attacks on worshippers to graffiti
and vandalism at Hindu temples. In one of the most
recent attacks, paving slabs with swastikas scratched
on them were thrown through the windows at a hall in
Basingstoke, Hampshire, while a religious meeting was
taking place.

Mr Kallidai said there was evidence that Hindus and
their temples had been targeted after the July 7 bomb
attacks in London, even though the terrorists had been
Muslim.

The Hindu Forum, which represents 260 Hindu
organisations in Britain, has arranged security
training for volunteers to prevent attacks at Hindu
temples.

Hindu groups are pressing the Home Office and police
to keep separate records of religiously motivated
attacks on Hindus. At present the figures are
collected only for racial groups.

The British Crime Survey found that the number of
racially motivated incidents in England and Wales has
quadrupled since 1993 to about 50,000.

Mr Kallidai said: "After 7/7 there was an increase in
attacks on Hindus because of mistaken identity. For
almost 90 per cent of the south Asian community you
cannot tell which religion a particular person belongs
to."

The "hate crime" hotline, due to start later this
year, could also incorporate a service aimed at young
people and is modelled on the success of the Muslim
Youth Helpline.

The introduction of the service will coincide with a
campaign to encourage Hindus to report hate crime.

Britain's Hindu population is based mainly in the
London and Leicester areas, and in parts of
Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Wolverhampton and
Coventry.

Most Hindus in Britain are of Gujarati, Punjabi or
Tamil ethnic origin. 







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