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Hindu temple vandalism: NSW police rule out hate crime

Source: Bhartiye Mandir Sydney

The incident has sparked condemnation among the large Hindu community in Australia, as well as from abroad, with many suspecting it as a hate crime.

Australia's Hindu community is in a state of shock after a Hindu temple in Sydney’s Regents Park was vandalised on Sunday.

The community suspects it to be a hate crime but NSW Police have ruled out vandalism of Sydney’s Bhartiye Mandir (Indian Hindu temple) as a ‘hate crime’.

More than 30 statues of Hindu gods at the temple in Sydney's Regents Park were destroyed. Carpets were burnt and the place was in ruin when devotees arrived for Sunday evening prayers.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation and concern among the large Hindu community in Australia, many of whom suspect it could be a hate crime.

Regents Park Bhartiya temple destroyed
Hindu Council of Australia

When asked if it was a hate crime, Detective Inspector Paul Arnold said ‘I would not call it that.’

“There is no indication of it. There were no derogatory words used. Hate crimes and biased crimes generally see that. It is not the case in this point,” he told SBS Hindi.

The Auburn Police Crime Prevention Unit and a representative from Cumberland Council will visit the vandalised temple on Friday to prepare an audit report.

“There have never been such incidents previously at the temple. The local police have a very strong working relationship with the temples in the area.

“The Auburn Police Crime Prevention Officer and the representative of the Cumberland Council will visit the temple today to perform a security audit of the premise and advice the temple accordingly,” Detective Inspector Arnold said.

Bhartiya mandir Regents Park destroyed
Hindu Council of Australia

The temple was established 20 years ago by Sydney’s Fiji Hindu community by converting an old Anglican church.

The temple management told SBS Hindi the temple and the people who visit to offer prayers have never witnessed any hostility or such vandalism before.

Temple management authorities say they are in a state of shock and have received support from the council and police authorities.

“We have received a lot of support from the local police and the council authorities,” Mr Inderjit Rai, the President of the temple told SBS Hindi.

“We really hope the police bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

Immigration Minister condemns vandalism 

Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman has strongly condemned the vandalisation of Hindu temple in Sydney.

“I am concerned to learn the Bhartiye Mandir Hindu Temple in Regents Park, Sydney has been vandalised and I offer my sympathies to members of the Hindu community affected,” Mr Coleman said.

“Vandalism of a place of religious gathering, which is central to its community, is deplorable.

“The Australian Government condemns this vandalism and any actions that seek to discriminate against the diverse cultures and communities that call Australia home. These actions go against the very essence of Australia’s society,” he said. 

Hindus worldwide appalled 

Hindus worldwide are highly concerned regarding reports of vandalizing of Hindu temple in Regents Park, a suburb in western Sydney in New South Wales (NSW) of Australia, during the auspicious festive season of Navaratri, Universal Society of Hinduism’s Rajan Zed has said in a statement.

“It was shocking for the worldwide Hindus to observe the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Australian Hindu community receiving such signals of hatred and intimidation,” Zed, the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said.

Zed has urged NSW Governor David Hurley, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Cumberland Council Mayor Greg Cummings and Canterbury-Bankstown Council Mayor Khal Asfour to launch swift action to ensure such incidents did not happen in the future.

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