Vandalized Buddhist statue prompts police investigation

Ottawa police are investigating the destruction of a Buddha statue that happened overnight on Heron Road.

Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Temple's treasurer says iron bar found at scene Friday morning

A Buddhist statue at the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Temple at 1481 Heron Rd. was vandalized overnight. (Submitted)

Ottawa police are investigating a report of vandalism at a temple after a Buddha statue was destroyed overnight. 

Police were called to the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Temple at 1481 Heron Rd. Friday morning after two monks who live there reported the damage. 

The head of the statue, which sits outside the building, appears to have been smashed apart.

Manoj Da Silva, the temple's treasurer, said the statue was installed about four months ago and cost approximately $8,000 to purchase and ship from Sri Lanka.

An iron bar believed to have been used to damage the statue was found nearby, according to Da Silva.

Broken fragments of the Buddha statue lie in the snow at the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Temple in Ottawa. (Submitted)

'I was very sad and we were shocked'

Da Silva said he doesn't know if the attack was random or targeted, and that it has raised concerns about personal safety. 

"I was very sad and we were shocked by that," he said, adding nothing like this has happened at the temple in its 20 years of operation.

"We have some activities going on during the day and there are some meditation programs going on. So, at that time [the vandalism happened] the temple was open so anybody can step in at any moment. So we are concerned about the safety of the resident monks."

He said it could cost thousands of dollars to replace the statue. 

Ottawa police said they were called to the temple around 10 a.m. Friday and that the investigation is ongoing. No other details were available. 

The head of the statue appears to have been smashed apart. (Submitted)