Toronto police investigating reports of vandalism at Hindu temple
Temple management says it's 'shocked and saddened' by 'anti-India' graffiti
The management of a Hindu temple in Etobicoke is asking for peace as Toronto police investigate reports of "anti-India" vandalism there.
Vandals spray-painted graffiti on the gates of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, police confirmed to CBC News.
Several videos surfaced on social media showing phrases like "Hindustan Murdabad," which essentially means "Death to India" in Urdu, and "Khalistan" sprayed on the temple's gates.
Khalistan is the name given to the concept of a Sikh-dominated homeland separate from India that independence activists have long demanded.
In a statement, officials at the temple said, "We are shocked and saddened by the anti-India graffiti at the gates of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto, Canada by anti-social elements."
The temple management appealed to all devotees and well-wishers to maintain peace, saying their place of worship is an abode of peace, harmony, equality, selfless service, and universal Hindu values.
The High Commission of India in Ottawa condemned the vandalism in a statement on Twitter and said it has requested that Canadian authorities investigate and take prompt action against the perpetrators.
We strongly condemn defacing of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto with anti-India graffiti. Have requested Canadian authorities to investigate the incident and take prompt action on perpetrators. <a href="https://twitter.com/MEAIndia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MEAIndia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/IndiainToronto?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IndiainToronto</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PIB_India?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PIB_India</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DDNewslive?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DDNewslive</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadainIndia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadainIndia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/cgivancouver?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cgivancouver</a>—@HCI_Ottawa
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown also took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
Very disappointed to hear of the vandalism that occurred at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto. This type of hate has no place in the GTA or Canada. Let’s hope those criminals responsible are brought to justice quickly.—@patrickbrownont