London : The UK police said they have released a 55-year-old Indian-origin man, arrested the same day on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker, following a viral video on social media that showed community members and a police officer squabbling during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
The community member is under investigation as further enquiries continue into the incident related to an “unplanned procession” following an “authorised religious festival celebration” which took place on Monday on Belgrave Road, Leicester.
“A man, 55, was arrested on suspicion of assault of an emergency worker on Belgrave Road, Leicester, on September 18. The man was taken to custody and was since released under investigation as enquiries continue,” the Leicester Police said in a statement.
The police statement was issued after a video was shared on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday by Insight UK, a Hindu advocacy group, which said that a Hindu priest was “pushed around” and “manhandled”.
Identifying the cop as Adam Ahmed of Leicester Police, the group said that he used “excessive force against peaceful Hindu devotees”.
“Last night (September 19) Officer Adam Ahmed of Leicestershire Police used what we believe is excessive force against peaceful Hindu devotees celebrating #GaneshChaturthi. Hindu priest manhandled by Officer Adam Ahmed of @leicspolice,” Insight UK wrote on X.
“We condemn the actions of the officer and believe that the actions by Ahmed were uncalled for,” the group wrote in a post along with the video.
Police said its officers were only trying to establish who had organised the event, and that organisers of such events and processions need to notify police in advance.
“We want all communities to celebrate festivals safely, which is why we encourage organisers to give prior notification to the police and council of any processions, celebrations or events in advance,” the police statement read.
“There are legal requirements surrounding processions and therefore officers attempted to engage with the crowd to establish the details of an organiser. This led to an incident, where the man was arrested and is now subject to investigation,” it added.
Police said its local officers will continue to engage with the community and those involved in any celebrations to ensure that everyone is able to celebrate festivals safely.
While the police statement did not name the 55-year-old man, unconfirmed media reports identified him as Indian-origin businessman Dharmesh Lakhani, owner of Bobby’s restaurant on Belgrave Road.
The incident comes exactly a year after the city of Leicester witnessed fierce Hindu-Muslim clashes, following an India-Pakistan cricket match in Dubai, and led to several arrests.