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Hindu temple vandalised with anti-India, pro-Khalistan graffiti in California

A Hindu temple has been vandalised with anti-India and pro-Khalistan graffiti on its exterior walls in Newark, California, United States. The Newark Police has assured a thorough investigation into the incident.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: December 23, 2023 14:03 IST
A Hindu temple vandalised in California, United States.
Image Source : ANI A Hindu temple vandalised in California, United States.

California: A Hindu temple has been vandalised with anti-India and pro-Khalistan graffiti on its exterior walls in Newark, California, United States. The Newark Police has assured a thorough investigation into the incident.

Some pro-Khalistan activists defaced the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California. One of the devotees, who lives near to the temple, noticed anti-Hindu, anti-India graffiti in black ink on exterior wall of the temple and informed the local authorities. 

Temple authorities were shocked to see anti-India graffiti on its wall. Police captain in Newark Jonathan Arguello said that the targeted act is being investigated.

"We strongly condemn the defacing of SMVS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at Newark, California with anti-India graffiti. This incident has hurt the sentiments of the Indian community. We have pressed for quick investigation and prompt action against the vandals by the US authorities in this matter," Consulate General of India in San Francisco said.

Responding to the temple vandalism in California, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said, "I have seen it. Extremists, separatists and such forces should not be given space. Our Consulate there complained to the government and the police and an inquiry is underway."

"This is an attack on India and our culture. I request the Government of India and the US that no one should have this type of religious freedom and they should have respect towards all. This is not a good sign for world peace," said Dr. Sant Vallabh Das Swami of Swami Narayan temple, Vadtal in Gujarat.

According to images posted on social media, the word ‘Khalistan’ was spray-painted on a signpost outside the temple along with other objectionable graffiti.

Newark police further said that any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes motivated by hate or bias are considered very serious and given very high priority.

"Officers are investigating, collecting evidence, and reviewing surveillance footage from nearby businesses in order to establish the chain of events and bring those responsible to justice,” the police said.

The department said “we stand united with our community and are urging community members with any information regarding this incident to come forward and speak with investigators.”

The police are asking anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact the Newark Police Investigations Unit.

Similar incidents happened earlier as well

This is not the first instance where a temple has been defaced with such graffiti in the recent past by Khalistani separatists.

India has been asking its partner countries such as Canada, the UK and the US to not give space to "extremist Khalistani ideology".

Khalistan supporters have increased their anti-India activities after the death of Canada-based Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

India's consulate in San Francisco in July came under an attack from Khalistan supporters who tried to set the diplomatic facility on fire.

The vandalism of the temple in Newark came close on the heels of allegations of an Indian official's involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate a separatist Sikh leader in the US.

The Indian official has been linked by American prosecutors to an individual accused of conspiring to assassinate Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the United States.

India has expressed concern over the matter and stated that appropriate action will be taken following the conclusions of an investigative panel examining the allegations.

With inputs from PTI

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