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BAPS Hindu temple vandalised in Sydney ahead of Indian PM’s visit

On Friday morning, the BAPS Swaminarayan temple management found the front wall of the Hindu temple vandalized with graffiti.

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The Hindu BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu temple in the Western Sydney suburb of Rosehill has been vandalised by unknown persons. The incident happened days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Sydney visit.

In the early hours of Friday morning, temple management found the front wall of the temple vandalised with graffiti reading “Declare Modi Terrorist (BBC)”. NSW Police were notified by the temple management as early as 7 am, and CCTV footage has been provided to assist in investigations.

BAPS spokesperson Praful Jethwa said the management is cooperating with the police.

“We are deeply saddened by the anti-India graffiti on the walls of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Rosehill, Sydney by anti-social elements. We are further disheartened that BAPS temples in Australia have been targeted for a second time. For the last 23 years, the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir has been a cornerstone of the local community and a prominent Hindu Temple which, like all BAPS temples worldwide, is an abode of peace and harmony, equality, selfless service and universal Hindu values,” BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said in a statement.

“We are thankful to the local police command, the Department of Home Affairs, State and Federal Members of Parliament, the Indian High Commission and the Consul General of Sydney for their continued support. BAPS temples across Australia are symbols of a thriving multicultural society that nurture Australian values of respect, mateship and tolerance,” it added. Sydney baps temple vandalised

Meanwhile Australian Federal Police and Parramatta police have visited the scene. Parramatta MP Andrew Charlton also visited the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple early Friday morning.

“This morning, a temple in my electorate of Parramatta was vandalised by religious extremists,” Mr Charlton said in a statement. “I am deeply shocked and saddened by this act of mindless vandalism. Everyone in Australia has the right to practice their faith in peace. The Federal Government will not tolerate acts of religious extremism. Relevant federal and state authorities are now investigating this incident. This act of hate has no place in our community. I urge everyone to remain calm as the relevant authorities respond to this matter.”

Mr Charlton personally helped temple volunteers clean up the offensive words sprayed on the temple walls.

This is not the first time that Hindu temples in Australia have been vandalised. Earlier this year, three Hindu temples in Melbourne and two Hindu temples in Brisbane were the target of similar attacks. This series of temple vandalism began in Melbourne before the Khalistan Referendum in January, when abusive language was written on posters and banners supporting Khalistan. After that, slogans supporting Khalistan were written one by one on several temples.

The Indian-Australian community was dismayed in January 2023 when three iconic Hindu temples outside the Indian subcontinent were vandalized with anti-Hindu graffiti. The vandalism of the historic Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs came within a week of anti-India and anti-Hindu graffiti smeared on the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Mill Park. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, also known as the Hare Krishna Temple, was the third temple to be vandalised by Khalistan supporters.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Sydney for the Quad summit on May 24. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had assured Mr Modi of strict action when Mr Modi raised the Hindu Temple attack issue on Albanese’s India visit. “Australia won’t tolerate any extreme actions and attacks that took place in religious buildings, and there is no place for such action against Hindu temples,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi.

The Khalistan movement is a separatist movement that seeks to create an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India. The movement has been active in several countries, including Canada, the UK, and the US, and is now gaining momentum in Australia. Although there is a small Sikh community in Australia, there is a growing number of sympathisers and supporters of the Khalistan movement.

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