A manhunt is underway for vandals who defaced a Hindu temple by spray painting 'declare Modi (Indian PM) terrorist' ahead of the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Sydney which is due on May 24 for the Quad leaders' summit in Australia. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple at Rosehill in western Sydney was vandalised on May 5, 2023.
Members of the Sikh community have condemned vandalism on a Hindu temple in Sydney's west, as tensions rise between the religious groups. The Australian Sikh Association, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Guruduara and North Shore Sikh Association condemned the graffiti in a joint statement. Some members of the Indian diaspora have been involved in protests in favour and against a non-binding referendum on a Sikh independent state in northern India's Punjab region, known as the Khalistan movement. It follows similar incidents at three Hindu temples in Melbourne and two in Brisbane, motivated by an intensifying campaign by activists who want to form a break-away state for Sikhs – Khalistan – in India.
The Indian High Commission in Canberra said these incidents are “clear attempts to sow hatred and division among the peaceful multi-faith and multicultural Indian-Australian community”. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha temple said in a statement they are “deeply saddened by the anti-India graffiti on the temple walls”.
“We are further disheartened that BAPS temples in Australia have been targeted for a second time,” the statement said.
Federal Parramatta MP Andrew Charlton visited the temple to help repair the damage. He was shocked and saddened by the “mindless vandalism”. “Everyone in Australia has the right to practice their faith in peace. The federal government will not tolerate acts of religious extremism” concluded Charlton.