In another case of vandalism of Hindu temples in Canada, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Windsor, Ontario, was defaced with anti-India graffiti on Wednesday (April 5, 2023). The graffiti on the temple walls included slogans against India, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and in support of the separatist Khalistan movement.
The BAPS organisation expressed shock and disappointment over the incident. A spokesperson for the organisation stated that they were “very shocked by the anti-Indian graffiti on our mandir walls.” They reported the incident to the local police.
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The Canadian Hindus for Harmony said in a tweet, “Shocked to learn about #Hindu BAPS Swaminarayan #Mandir in #Windsor, Ontario vandalism. #HinduPhobia is on the rise. 5th incident in less than 6 months.”
Shocked to learn about #Hindu BAPS Swaminarayan #Mandir in #Windsor , Ontario 🇨🇦 vandalism.#HinduPhobia is on the rise. 5th incident in less than 6 months.
.@fordnation .@WindsorPolice .@drewdilkens .@CityWindsorON pic.twitter.com/5hNPlGJnEa
— Canadian Hindus for Harmony (@CaHiHaOfficial) April 5, 2023
Windsor Police response
In a news update, the Windsor Police Service said that it was investigating vandalism at a local Hindu temple as a hate-motivated incident.
The police statement said that on April 5, 2023, officers were dispatched to a Hindu temple in the 1700 block of Northway Avenue following a report of hate-motivated vandalism. Officers discovered anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti sprayed in black on an exterior wall of the building.
Through investigation, officers obtained a video that showed two suspects in the area just after 12 a.m. In the video, one suspect appeared to commit the vandalism on the wall of the building while the other kept watch, continued the police statement.
WINDSOR POLICE NEWS RELEASE
Two suspects wanted for hate-motivated graffitihttps://t.co/yOvlYU4ykn@CStoppers with information pic.twitter.com/5bT4ukynSq
— Windsor Police (@WindsorPolice) April 5, 2023
The statement said that at the time of the incident, one suspect wore a black sweater, black pants with a small white logo on the left leg, and black and white high-top running shoes. The second suspect wore black pants, a sweatshirt black shoes, and white socks.
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The police encouraged the residents in the immediate vicinity of the temple to check their home surveillance or dashcam video footage between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. for evidence of the suspects. The police asked those with relevant information to call up the Morality Unit or the Crime Stoppers of the Windsor Police at the telephone numbers mentioned in the statement.
Series of incidents since July 2021
This is the fifth time that a Hindu temple in Canada has been defaced with anti-India graffiti since July 2021. Two temples in Mississauga and Brampton were similarly desecrated. In July 2021, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced at the Vishnu Mandir in Richmond Hill. In September 2021, there was an incident of vandalism at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto.
(With agency inputs)