London, September 18 (KMS): A number of UK lawmakers and Islamic bodies have called on the British government to ban Sadhvi Nisha Rithambara, a Hindu extremist, from entering the country on a speaking tour due to her Islamophobic rhetoric.
Rithambara heads the Durga Vahini organization which is the woman’s wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). A Hindu extremist out, VHP is among the close allies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under whose rule India has witnessed a sharp increase in anti-Muslim violence and hatred.
Rithambara is set to pay visits to temples in Birmingham, Bolton, Coventry, Nottingham, and London from September 20 to 24.
International rights groups have warned that anti-Muslim air in India could even escalate further.
They have accused Modi’s governing party of looking the other way and sometimes enabling hate speech against Muslims, who comprise a 14% minority in India’s 1.4 billion population but are still numerous enough to be the second-largest Muslim population of any nation.
Two Labor lawmaker Sam Tarry and Yasmin Qureshi have voiced their opposition to Rithambara’s tour in the UK.
A disturbing trend of violent anti-Muslim attacks has rocked the English city of Leicester over the past few months as locals complain radicalised Hindus are roaming the streets on a weekly basis, hunting down vulnerable Muslims and assaulting them.
“Sadhvi Rithambara is a hugely divisive figure, known for her xenophobic speeches and rhetoric, in particular against the Muslim community in India,” Tarry wrote in a letter cited by the Middle East Eye.
Noting that Islamophobic rhetoric has no place in Ilford, one of the planned destinations of the Hindu extremist, Terry said he was “deeply worried about the potential stoking of communal tensions, should her visit be allowed to progress.”
Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), a Muslim advocacy group, expressed concern over her imminent visit.
“We are deeply concerned that Sadvhi Rithambara will jeopardize the present harmony in the UK between Hindu and Muslim populations and believe that her hateful and Islamophobic rhetoric has no place within our multicultural and diverse communities,” said Aman Ali, a spokesperson with MEND.
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