‘Please catch perpetrators’: India to Canada after Ontario temple vandalism

New Delhi (IANS): Condemning the vandalization of a Hindu temple in Ontario province, India on Thursday asked Canada in strictest terms to catch the perpetrators and ensure that incidents like these do not happen again.

The temple, located in Ontario’s Windsor city, was vandalised by unknown men with “anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti” on Wednesday.

“This is a very unfortunate incident and we condemn it,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters.

“This issue has been taken up with the Canadian authorities, and with the same requests that we made on earlier occasions that please catch the perpetrators, please try to prevent… ensure that this does not happen again,” Bagchi said.

Hoping that the action is taken on the above lines, Bagchi further said that the matter has been taken up with the Canadian authorities.

“We have taken up with the Canadian authorities the hateful act of putting anti-India graffiti on the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Windsor. We strongly condemn this act of vandalism,” the High Commission of India in Ottawa had tweeted just after the incident.

The Windsor Police Service said in a statement on Wednesday, April 5:

“The Windsor Police Service is investigating vandalism at a local Hindu temple as a hate-motivated incident.

“On April 5, 2023, officers were dispatched to a Hindu temple in the 1700 block of Northway Avenue following a report of hate-motivated vandalism. Officers discovered anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti sprayed in black on an exterior wall of the building.

“Through investigation, officers obtained a video that shows two suspects in the area just after 12 a.m. In the video, one suspect appears to commit the vandalism on the wall of the building while the other keeps watch.

“At the time of the incident, one suspect wore a black sweater, black pants with a small white logo on the left leg, and black and white high-top running shoes. The second suspect wore black pants, a sweatshirt black shoes, and white socks.

“Residents in the immediate vicinity of the temple are encouraged to check their home surveillance or dashcam video footage between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. for evidence of the suspects.

“Anyone with information is asked to call the Morality Unit at 519-255-6700, ext. 4362. They can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.catchcrooks.com.”

Starting 2023, a string of attacks has been unleashed upon Hindu temples and installations across Canada with more than half-a-dozen incidents of vandalism, spiteful graffiti, break-ins and burglaries.

Last month, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized on the Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby, B.C.

In February, the Ram Mandir in Mississauga city, Ontario, was vandalized with anti-India slogans, sending shockwaves across the Indian community.

In January, the Gauri Shankar Mandir was targeted with “anti-India” graffiti in Brampton, Ontario, with leaders in Canada and India asking the Ottawa government to take the matter ‘seriously’.