UK council plans to thank Indian immigrants

A council in England that once did not want Indian immigrants to come to the city is planning to publicly thank them for transforming it and the region after facing racism and other hurdles as they rebuilt their lives over the last 40 years.

In one of the most remarkable stories of the Indian diaspora, the east Midlands town of Leicester is marking the 40th anniversary of Indians and Asians being expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin, and their arrival in a town that was then struggling economically.

In August 1972, the Uganda Indians were not welcome in the city, and the council paid for advertisements in the Uganda press, stating that it was “in your own interests and those of your family... not come to Leicester”.

Forty years later, councillor Sundip Meghani, son of one of the many Indians expelled from Uganda, has proposed a motion in the same city council thanking the Indians and other Asians from Uganda for their contribution to the city. Meghani’s father, Shantilal, and his family settled in Leicester after being expelled from Uganda with only £50.

On the motion before the council, Sundip said: “It is a symbolic gesture on an issue that is of great importance to the whole city. More than 10,000 Ugandan Asians came here. Most were active, hard-working and entrepreneurial people.”

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