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Another Hindu temple vandalised in Canada — India says time for action, not assurances

Anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti sprayed on the exterior wall of BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Windsor, Ontario, Canada

India on Thursday strongly condemned another act of hate-motivated vandalism at a Hindu temple in Windsor, a city in Canada’s Ontario, saying that the issue has been taken up with the Justin Trudeau government and it is time for taking action instead of making assurances.

Earlier today, the Windsor Police Service released a video that shows two suspects spraying anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti on the exterior wall of BAPS Swaminarayan temple.

In the video, one suspect appears to commit vandalism on the wall of the building while the other keeps watch.

Giving details of the two suspects, the local police urged residents in the immediate vicinity of the temple to check their home surveillance or dashcam video footage between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. for more evidence.

The High Commission of India in Ottawa stated that it has taken up with the Canadian authorities the hateful act of putting anti-India graffiti on the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan temple and strongly condemns the act of vandalism.

In New Delhi, while addressing the media during the weekly presser, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi termed the incident “very unfortunate” and assured that the issue has been taken up with the Canadian authorities to catch the perpetrators.

“We want these incidents not to happen, we want action and ensure that the Indian community’s places of worship are protected,” said Bagchi.

From Australia to the United Kingdom and Canada, the past few weeks have witnessed Hindu temples becoming a target of hate crimes.

In February, the Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton, a symbol of Indian heritage, was defaced with anti-India graffiti, deeply hurting the sentiments of the Indian community in Canada.

In January, the Ram Mandir in Mississauga was also targeted by miscreants.

Similar incidents have been reported in Australia and the UK with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking up the issue with Australian PM Anthony Albanese during his New Delhi visit.

“Since the last few weeks, news of attacks on temples in Australia are coming regularly. It is natural that such news worries people in India. I have raised these concerns with Prime Minister Albanese who has assured me that the safety of the Indian community is a special priority for him,” said PM Modi with Albanese standing by his side last month.

MEA said on Thursday that it has made it “pretty clear” to the host governments and agencies about the actions that are expected from them.

“What is important is action to be taken rather than assurances,” said Bagchi.

The Hindu Canadian Foundation (HCF) has stated that all Canadian Hindu families are under immense stress and feeling socially isolated due to the rising hate crime incidents.

“Today, the Hindu community is celebrating Hanuman Jayanti – a day to celebrate the birth of Lord Hanuman. On this day families go to temples to offer prayers and worship for the well-being of everyone. This is an attempt to stop the Hindu community to practise their faith and, at the same, terrorize the community,” the foundation said in a statement after Wednesday’s incident in Windsor.

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