British member of parliament (MP) Bob Blackman on Thursday (22) came forward in support of the Hindu community after violence between Hindu and Muslim communities have affected areas such as Leicester, saying he condemned “violent attacks on Hindu temples in Leicester and Smethwick” and cautioned that the Hindu festivals of Navratri, Diwali are about to happen soon.
The 66-year-old Conservative parliamentarian for East Harrow, who is also the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, said in his address to the parliament, “The Hindu community in this country are seriously concerned about their safety in going about their celebrations.”
On Friday (23), Blackman wrote a letter to British home secretary Suella Baverman over the communal tension and gave her recommendations over improving the security arrangements to avert more such tensions, particularly in times of the Hindu festivals.
He said, “Navratri begins next week and lasts for 10 days, Diwali occurs on the 24th of October with Hindu New Year on the 25th of October. These are key festivals for Hindus and a serious threat to security. The safety of those celebrating raises serious concerns. In your role as Home Secretary, I urge you to consider the following recommendations:
“Expansions on the security that is available to protect the British Hindu community through increased police presence in densely Hindu populated areas. I am confident that local Hindu organisations would be happy to liaise and assist in the coordination of this, particularly surrounding celebratory times, including that of Diwali and Navratri.
“increase the provision of security and police at Hindu temples across the country.
“Encourage Ministers to provide urgent reassurances, acknowledging these instances of Hinduphobia and that they are working persistently to tackle the issue.”
Who is Bob Blackman?
Blackman, who was born in Kensington, has been elected as an MP for East Harrow since 2010. He has also served as the joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee since 2012. He was a member of the London Assembly for Brent and Harrow between 2004 and 2008.
Blackman, who studied at the University of Liverpool, had worked in various sales and management roles prior to his political career.
Blackman is known to be a ‘friend of India’ who has spoken over the exodus of Hindus from Kashmir and has slammed Pakistan on a number of occasions.
He was also felicitated with India’s Padma Shri Award in 2020 and last year, he tabled a motion in the UK parliament to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
In September last year, Blackman defended the Narendra Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying it restored local governance in the former state.