New York: A prominent Hindu temple in the US state of California has been vandalised by pro-Khalistan elements with anti-Modi graffiti, leaving the members of the community in shock.
The walls of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in Newark, Bay Area, were spray painted on Friday with graffiti targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and eulogising Khalistan leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
“Whatever happened last night was a clear act of vandalism and violence against the Indian community,” Chintan Pandya, a member of the temple, told CBS News.
He said the incident is “concerning” as it is the first time the temple has seen something like this ever since its opening almost two years ago.
“It is not safe for the community,” Pandya said, adding that the temple leaders will be having a special meeting to discuss the incident.
US-based advocacy organisation, Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), said a thorough and urgent action is needed to address growing Hinduphobia in the region.
“Freedom of religion means little when sacred spaces that are meant to be an oasis of peace and calm, are vandalised with no consequences. We are sad but not shocked — authorities, media and other groups have regularly downplayed or ignored the growing #Hinduphobia in the region,” CoHNA said in a post on X on Friday.
“People who put those symbols and names up…what they are promoting is a separate state of Khalistan… So if those people who did this want that, that’s something that I think most Americans, most Indians, most Hindus don’t want,” Mihir Meghani, co-founder of Hindu American Foundation, told CBS News.
Meghani said the Indian-American community in the Bay Area is growing, and these political issues are now becoming a part of the division here.
The incident comes just after the US Justice Department unsealing an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to kill New York-based Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.