In Leicester, tensions have been growing amid a series of anti-Muslim attacks in recent months (Video screen grab)

By Peter OborneImran Mulla / Middle East Eye

Hindus on one side, Muslims on the other. Police officers wielding batons keep the two sides apart.

Close by, cars are being smashed. One is overturned and its driver beaten up. Local residents trapped in their houses, afraid to go out. Masked and hooded men march through the streets.

This wasn’t a scene in India, a country notoriously prone to outbursts of brutal communal violence. It happened last Saturday night in the British city of Leicester. For locals, it felt close to civil war.

Nothing like this has happened before in Britain’s most multicultural city. In recent months, though, something has changed. Hindu nationalism has come to Britain.

In India, hatred against religious minorities, especially the country’s 200 million Muslims, is growing. It is fuelled by Hindutva, a common term for the Hindu nationalism propagated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary organisation. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his political education in the RSS. The ruling party, the BJP, was established in 1951 as its political wing.

Whereas Hinduism is a great and ancient religious tradition, the RSS is modern to its core, modelled on 20th-century European fascism. One of its most influential ideologues, Madhav Sadashivrao Golwalkar, admired the Nazis and compared Indian Muslims to Jews in Germany.

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