Melbourne, January 23
A third Hindu temple has been vandalised within a fortnight in Australia’s Victoria state allegedly by “Khalistani supporters” with anti-India graffiti, according to a media report on Monday.
The management of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, also known as the Hare Krishna Temple in Melbourne’s Albert Park, on Monday morning found the walls of the revered temple vandalised with graffiti “Hindustan Murdabad”, The Australia Today website reported.
“We are shocked and outraged with this blatant disregard for respect for the place of worship,” Bhakta Das, Director of Communication for ISKCON Temple, said.
“A complaint has been filed with Victoria Police and CCTV footage is being provided to assist them in their pursuit of culprits.”
This is the third such incident in the country within a fortnight.
On January 16, the historic Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs, Victoria, was vandalised in a similar manner.
On January 12, the Swaminarayan temple in Melbourne was defaced by ‘anti-social elements’ with anti-India graffiti.
Acting Premier of Victoria Jacinta Allan told The Australia Today, “All Victorians deserve to practice their faith free from racism, vilification and hatred.”
“This behaviour is not reflective of the majority of Victorians. The diversity of Victoria is one of our strongest assets, and we condemn these attacks,” Allan added.
The attack on ISKCON Temple came just two days after Victorian multi-faith leaders had an emergency meeting with the Victorian Multicultural Commission after which a statement of condemnation was issued against the spread of Hindu hate allegedly by Khalistani supporters.
“This is disgusting. We must not allow this to happen,” Victorian Liberal Party MP Brad Battin has told The Australia Today.
Federal Member of Parliament Josh Burns also issued a statement saying, “I was shocked today to learn of the hateful attack on the Hare Krishna temple in Albert Park.” “This is the third incident of vandalism against Hindu places of worship in Melbourne in recent weeks.
Shivesh Pandey, an IT consultant and devotee of ISKCON temple said: “In the last two weeks, Victoria Police has failed to take any decisive action against the people who are running their hate-filled agenda against the peaceful Hindu community.”
India last week condemned the vandalisation of Hindu temples in Australia and said that the matter has been raised with the Australian government in Canberra and asked for an expeditious investigation against the perpetrators.
Australian High Commissioner In India Barry O’Farrell issued a statement after Indian intervention.
He said, “We have been shocked at the vandalism of two Hindu temples in Melbourne, & Australian authorities are investigating,” he tweeted.