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British Indian among panellists named for review into Leicester unrest


London, Sep 19
The UK government has appointed three expert panellists, including a British Indian, to sit on an independent review into a communal unrest that occurred in Leicester city between Hindus and Muslims, following an India-Pakistan cricket match in Dubai last year.

UK Communities Secretary Michael Gove on Monday named Dr Samir Shah CBE, Professor Hilary Pilkington, Dr Shaaz Mahboob to work on review to establish the facts and identify the underlying causes of last year's unrest and make recommendations.

In September, 2022, community tensions led to a spate of vandalism, assaults, and attacks on places of worship and other properties in Leicester, in some cases highlighting divisions between different groups across the city and beyond.

Following the developments, Gove commissioned an independent review in May this year under the chairmanship of Lord Ian Austin, a former minister for housing and planning as well former minister for the West Midlands.

Stating that Leicester has a proud history of diversity, tolerance and community cohesion, Lord Austin said: "We want to listen to people in Leicester to understand last year's events, what can be learned from them and how communities in the city can work together to prevent problems in future".

"It is therefore vital that the review is comprehensive and even-handed and that this aim is reflected in the panellists we appoint," Lord Austin added.

Aurangabad-born Dr Shah is a former Commissioner for the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and was a member of the Holocaust Commission.

He was also the former chair of the independent race equality think tank, The Runnymede Trust, for 10 years.

Pilkington is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

She coordinated the H2020 DARE (Dialogue about Radicalisation and Equality) project, and her research includes focus to the study of youth participation, activism, stigmatisation and extremism in the UK.

Dr Mahboob is the head of Digital Development NHS England and trustee of British Muslims for Secular Democracy for 10 years until 2018, including its Vice Chair for a number of years.

"The diverse panel brings together a wealth of experience and knowledge, which should result in an honest, frank and productive review," Lord Austin said in a statement.

The panel, which is expected to publish the findings of the review next year, will establish the facts of what took place over the period of unrest, and a sequence of events.

Further, it will present an analysis of the causes of the unrest and make practical recommendations for how similar events that may arise in future could be prevented, a statement by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said.

The panel will also set out proposals and ideas for strengthening social cohesion locally.

The unrest in Leicester, a city in England's East Midlands region, began after an India and Pakistan cricket match on August 28.

At least, 47 persons were arrested in what the police had described as a "series of disturbances".