Hindus worldwide are highly concerned regarding reports of vandalizing of Hindu temple in Regents Park, a suburb in western Sydney in New South Wales (NSW) of Australia, during the auspicious festive season of Navaratri.
Reports suggest that this vandalism at Bhartiye Mandir resulted in destruction of sacred statues and images of deities, fire damage to the interior and carpet, prayer materials thrown around, broken instruments, various other items smashed/overturned and covered with paint, etc.; causing damage of about $50,000 to this house of worship and sending the Hindu community in a state of anguish.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking for the worldwide Hindus to observe the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Australian Hindu community receiving such signals of hatred and intimidation. Australian Hindus had made lot of contributions to the nation and society and continued to do so; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Zed urged NSW Governor David Hurley, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Cumberland Council Mayor Greg Cummings and Canterbury-Bankstown Council Mayor Khal Asfour to take this issue seriously and urgently and launch swift action to put an end to such crimes and make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future.
Adequate security measures should be in place to protect the Australian Hindu population and Hurley, Berejiklian, Cummings and Asfour should immediately visit the vandalized temple and meet the Hindu community in Regents Park area to reassure them; Rajan Zed indicated and added that this clearly was an attack on religious freedom of which Australia was very proud of.
Zed further said that as an interfaith gesture; Sydney Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies, NSW Uniting Church Moderator Simon Hansford and area leaders of other religions should strongly condemn this vandalizing and also visit the vandalized temple to show their solidarity with the dismayed Hindus.
Bhartiye Mandir, whose history goes back to 1994 and which is housed in an old Anglican church building, is “a place of worship, social gathering and celebrating cultural activities” and conducts Ram Katha every Friday. Its mantra is: ‘Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu’ (Let the entire world be happy). Inderjit Rai is President, while Paras Ram Maharaj is priest.