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Arrest of an Indian restaurant owner and the disruption of a Ganesh Chaturthi

LONDON: Anger among British Hindus has spread across the country as a result of the arrest of a well-known businessman (of Indian descent) and the disruption of a Ganesh Chaturthi procession by Leicestershire police.

Bobby’s restaurant owner Dharmesh Lakhani, who was handcuffed outside the Shivalaya Mandir—The Leicestershire Brahma Samaj on Monday night, spent five hours in a police cell and is now in need of medical assistance. He intends to complain to the police in Leicestershire.

The street was being used for an unauthorized parade, according to Leicestershire police.

Officers made an effort to interact with the throng in order to learn the identity of the procession’s organizer because processions are subject to legal regulations. This resulted in an incident, the man was detained, and he is currently the subject of an inquiry, the company said in a statement.

Lakhani, however, informed  that it was not a procession. It was between 10 and 12 persons who brought two murtis (god idols) for the Ganesh festival on Monday night.

On Sunday, there will be a large procession during which the Ganesh murtis that dissolve in water will be brought from the Shivalaya Mandir to Cossington Park. This is authorized by the event’s organizer, the Belgrave Business Association.

Before the daily puja and aarati that will begin on Tuesday, Lakhani stated on Monday that the murtis were being wheeled in a “rekri” to the Shivalaya mandir from Jeram, the Belgrave Road store that had imported the idols from India. The Shivalaya is the same temple where, precisely one year ago, a flag was torn down during the riots in Leicester.

He stated that as they were rolling the idols down the sidewalk, a “rogue police officer” appeared and began tormenting Madhusudhan Shastri, the chief priest of the Shivalaya Mandir, who is in his 70s.

He continued to push and pull the priest away from the procession, which disrupted the puja. The priest was terrified when he went to talk to him down a side street, according to Lakhani. He asserted that he then attempted to step in and order the police to refrain from touching the priest.

Once they arrived at the temple, the same police officer returned, this time accompanied by numerous additional officers. The initial cop allegedly pushed Lakhani after that. “I raised my arm to defend myself, but he claimed I had assaulted him and had begun yanking and pushing me.” I was detained,” Lakhani reportedly told . “I informed him I have a heart ailment when he arrested me. He shoved me, not me, he hit him. Every community was invited. We wanted to conduct it with Shivalaya specifically to create bridges again after what happened a year ago.

According to Leicester police, a 55-year-old man was detained on September 18 on suspicion of assaulting a medical professional on Belgrave Road in Leicester. The man was taken into custody and then released while the inquiry is ongoing.

Lakhani (55), who is in a lot of agony from the way he was handcuffed, is currently seeking medical attention. “He did my handcuffs so tight and twisted one arm,” he alleged.

Shyamal Raja, managing director of Midlands Care, wrote an open letter of protest about the event to chief constable Rob Nixon, requesting a formal written apology be extended to Lakhani and the priest as well as an investigation into the police officer.

It was verified by Leicestershire police to TOI that they were looking into a complaint regarding the arrest. Lakhani is seen in videos crying “Tell him I have a heart condition” as he is dragged across the street and restrained. Later, he requests water and claims to be short of breath. You can hear the crowd yelling, “You are not allowing us to celebrate our festival.”