“Anti-social elements” vandalized a well-known Hindu temple in Sydney on Friday by spray-painting anti-India messages on its walls. This is the most recent occurrence of vandalism targeting Hindu temples in Australia, which has been happening prior to the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month.
The exact time is currently unknown, but the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located in Rosehill, Sydney was where the incident occurred.
According to the Australia Today newspaper, officials at the temple discovered a Khalistani flag displayed on the gate and immediately notified the New South Wales (NSW) police about the incident.
In a statement, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Rosehill, Sydney expressed their deep sorrow over the defacing of the temple’s walls with anti-India graffiti by individuals deemed “anti-social elements.” The temple officials also expressed disappointment over the recent targeting of BAPS temples in Australia. They emphasized that the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir has been a vital part of the local community for the past 23 years and is a significant Hindu temple that embodies universal Hindu values of equality, peace, harmony, and selfless service.
According to the Australia Today newspaper, Andrew Charlton, the Member of Parliament for Parramatta, rushed to the BAPS Temple as soon as he was informed of the vandalism incident against the Hindu community. Alongside temple officials, Charlton assisted in repainting the defaced wall.
The newspaper reported that Andrew Charlton was quoted as saying, “I am deeply shocked and saddened by this act of mindless vandalism. Everyone in Australia should be able to practice their religion without fear, and this morning’s vandalism against the BAPS temple in my constituency of Parramatta by religious extremists is unacceptable.”
The temple stated that presently, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is praying for peace and unity and has requested all devotees and supporters of the community to maintain peace. They expressed gratitude towards the local police force, the Department of Home Affairs, State and Federal Members of Parliament, the Indian High Commission, and the Consul General of Sydney for their continuous support.
According to the temple’s statement, BAPS temples throughout Australia serve as representations of a flourishing multicultural society that upholds Australian values of respect, tolerance, and camaraderie. They urged everyone to come together in prayer worldwide, asking for God’s blessings and guidance, and to continue to do good and think positively towards all.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the NSW Police reported that the Cumberland Police Area Command has launched an investigation into the malicious destruction of a religious site in Rosehill. The spokesperson stated that the police are conducting an inquiry into the incident’s surrounding circumstances.
Earlier this year, Khalistan supporters vandalized three Hindu temples in Melbourne and two in Brisbane. The vandalism incidents were reported prior to Prime Minister Modi’s scheduled visit to Sydney on May 24 for the QUAD summit.
During Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to India in March, Prime Minister Modi brought up the issue of frequent attacks on Hindu temples with him and expressed his worries. Albanese, in response, reassured Modi that Australia would not tolerate violence against religious sites and that anyone found responsible for such acts would face the full extent of the law.
The Ministry of External Affairs also released a statement denouncing the assault on the Indian community by extremist Khalistani factions in Australia. The MEA called on local authorities to investigate the incident and penalize those responsible.