New Delhi: A Hindu temple in Australia’s Melbourne city was allegedly defaced by Khalistan supporters as graffiti of derogatory slogans was put up on the temple walls, as per a report by The Australia Today. The walls of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Mill Park were defaced.
The Australia Today quoted a devotee as saying, “When I reached the temple today morning all walls were coloured with graffiti of Khalistani hatred towards Hindus.”
“I am angry, scared, and dismayed by the blatant display of religious hatred towards the peaceful Hindu community by Khalistan supporters,” the man identified as ‘Mr. Patel’ said, the report mentioned that he didn’t reveal his first name fearing for his safety.
Photos posted by The Australia Today showed slogans of “Hindustan Murdabad”, “Sant Bhindrawale Martyr”, and “Modi Hitler” painted over the temple walls.
The miscreants recorded a video of the temple after vandalising it and shared it on social media.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha took to Twitter and appealed for peace following the incident.
“We are deeply saddened by the anti-India graffiti at the gates of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mill Park, Melbourne, Australia by anti-social elements. The BAPS temple in Mill Park, like all temples of BAPS worldwide, is an abode of peace, harmony, equality, selfless service, and universal Hindu values,” the temple body’s statement read.
News: Appeal for Peace, Melbourne, Australia https://t.co/UYGsrrmJEd pic.twitter.com/W75oLCAHtK
— BAPS (@BAPS) January 12, 2023
“At this time, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, has prayed for peace and unity and has appealed to all devotees and well-wishers to maintain peace,” it added.
“We are thankful to the appropriate authorities, including the governments of Australia and India as well as local community organisations, for their continued support. BAPS Mandirs across Australia are symbols of a thriving multicultural society which nurture Australian values of respect, mateship and tolerance,” it further stated.
The Australia Today reported Hindu Council of Australia’s Victoria state President Makrand Bhagwat as saying, “Any kind of hatred and vandalism against places of worship is not acceptable and we condemn it.”
“And this kind of activity is in violation of the racial and religious tolerance act of victoria we demand Victoria Police and Premier Dan Andrews to take strong action against the perpetrators.”
Evan Mulholland, Liberal MP for the Northern Metropolitan Region told The Australia Today, “This vandalism is deeply distressing for Victoria’s peaceful Hindu community, especially at this holy time.”
Hindu community leaders across Victoria have condemned the attack. Whether or not the Ministry of External Affairs in India issues a statement on the incident, remains to be seen.
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