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Khalistanis attack Hindu temple in Australia ahead of PM’s visit

BAPS Swaminarayan temple defaced by Khalistan supporters (Photo: The Australia Today/Twitter)

Tension gripped Australia days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country after the BAPS Swaminarayan temple of Western Sydney’s Rosehill suburb was found vandalised by Khalistan supporters on Friday morning.

The temple management found the front wall of the temple painted with graffiti and a Khalistan flag hanging on the gate. They informed the NSW police which reached the spot and took the CCTV footage. It is currently questioning the management to get details.

“Officers from Cumberland Police Area Command have commenced an investigation following reports of malicious damage to a religious site in Rosehill. Police are conducting inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident and anyone who is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000”, read NSW’s official statement.

Meanwhile, the local Member of Parliament Parramatta Andrew Charlton reached the temple and helped authorities repaint the wall. “I am deeply shocked and saddened by this act of mindless vandalism. Everyone in Australia has the right to practice their faith in peace”, he said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement condemning the attack on the Indian community by extremist Khalistani groups in Australia. It also urged local authorities to launch an investigation into the case and punish the perpetrators. The Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Australia on May 24.

Australia has seen multiple anti-Hindu attacks on temples by pro-Khalistani elements in the last many months.

In a majority of these incidents, slogans were written against Prime Minister Modi. The Indian Prime Minister had raised the issue with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during his India visit on March 10. Albanese assured that the safety of the Indian community would be a priority for him.

The first attack was recorded on January 12 when the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, located in the northern suburb of Mill Park, Melbourne, was vandalised by Khalistani attackers. The walls of the temple were defaced with spray painting. This was soon followed by another attack on January 17. This was the historic Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs.

On January 23 a similar attack by Khalistani elements took place at the Hare Krishna Temple located at Albert Park in Melbourne city of Australia. The temple is run by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and it led to a backlash by devotees all over the world.

On February 16 a Kali Mata temple received a warning against holding a Bhajan program. On March 4, Shree Laxmi Narayan Temple in Brisbane’s Burbank suburb was vandalised with anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti defacing its walls. According to local media reports, the vandalism was carried out by pro-Khalistani supporters who hailed slain Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a martyr.

Sai Paravastu, the National Secretary of the Hindu Council of Australia, said: “The Hindu Council of Australia strongly condemns the acts of vandalism. We urge the authorities to investigate this matter thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice. We also call upon all members of the community to stand together against such acts of hate and violence and to promote mutual respect and understanding among all faiths and cultures”.