Brampton Mayor, others condemn defacing of Gauri Shankar Mandir

BRAMPTON Mayor Patrick Brown on Monday condemned the defacing of Gauri Shankar Mandir in the City.

He tweeted: “This hateful act of vandalism has no place in our City or Country,” adding that he had raised his concerns over this hate crime with Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.

Brown said: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their place worship.”

The Consulate General of India in Toronto tweeted: “We strongly condemn defacing of Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton, a symbol of Indian heritage, with anti-India graffiti. The hateful act of vandalism has deeply hurt sentiments of Indian community in Canada. We have raised our concerns on the matter with Canadian authorities.”

Liberal MP Chandra Arya tweeted: “The attack of Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton is latest in attacks on Hindu temples in Canada by anti-Hindu and anti-India groups. From hatred on social media, now physical attacks on Hindu temples, what next? I call on govt at [all] levels in Canada to start taking this seriously.”
Arya also brought up the issue in Parliament.

Maninder Sidhu, MP for Brampton East and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted: “The vandalism that happened at the Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton is completely unacceptable. Everyone should be able to practice their faith without fear. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Peel Regional Police.”

Meanwhile, Hindu Federation President Pandit Roopnauth Sharma said the vandalism was the third such incident in the last six months in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area], the first being the Vishnu Mandir in Richmond Hill and the other being BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Etobicoke.

He said that Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah had outlined the actions taken by his department regarding this matter: “Peel Regional Police attended the vandalism/hate incident at the Gauri Shankar Mandir on January 31st, 2023. A full report and investigation was commenced including statements and a canvass for video of the surrounding area. Peel police are currently working to identify suspect(s) responsible and are seeking anyone with video in the area which may assist.  Peel Police have initiated their Reassurance Protocol which is supported by Divisional Mobilization Officers, as well as Diversity Officers. This includes the involvement of the Police Regional Hate-Crime Coordinator, enhanced patrols as well as individual support for the Mandir.”

The federation said: “We compliment the Chief for the prompt and focused response to this matter and appreciate his willingness to have further dialogue with community leaders.

“It is evident that these incidents of desecration are the actions of a very organized group, whose intentions are to create disharmony in the Indian diaspora and disrupt the peace and tranquility of Hindu places of worship. These despicable incidents of desecrations of our temples have caused the Hindu community in the GTA to feel very helpless, vulnerable and insecure.”

“Hindu Federation demands that politicians at every level – Municipal, Provincial, and Federal, take swift and decisive action to bring back peace and stability to religious communities in the GTA. This can be achieved through increased police presence around Hindu temples. If our places of worship do not have security, then it is very difficult to find peace and fulfillment. Worshippers must not be burdened with the worry that the House of God can be desecrated at any time. There must be action from political and religious leadership, as well as community police, to restore the feeling of safety and security in all places of worship,” the Hindu Federation said.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown at Shivaratri celebrations at the Gauri Shankar Mandir in March 2019.
Photo: Twitter