Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya, reacting to the latest attack on a Hindu temple by vandals in Canada, on Tuesday called on the Ottawa government to take the matter ‘seriously’.
The Gauri Shankar Mandir was vandalised with “anti-India” graffiti in Brampton, leaving the Indian community in a state of shock.
“The attack on Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton is latest in attacks on Hindu temples in Canada by anti-Hindu and anti-India groups. From hatred on social media, now physical attacks on Hindu temples, what next?” Arya, an MP from the ruling Liberal Party, wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I call on govt at levels in Canada to start taking this seriously.”
Arya had marked Canada’s first Hindu Heritage Month in November to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by Hindus to make Canada strong and prosperous. According to him, members of the Hindu community started coming to Canada 100 years ago. Hindus rose from 1.0 per cent to 2.3 per cent — close to 830,000 people — of the total Canadian population from 2001 to 2021 as per a recent Statistics Canada report.
Arya has been a vocal critic of hate crime incidents targeting Indians, and has strongly criticised instances of vandalism at Hindu temples, as well as desecration of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the country.
The incident also evoked sharp reactions from the Indian Consulate General in Toronto, which said that the “hateful act of vandalism has deeply hurt sentiments of the Indian community in Canada. We have raised our concerns on the matter with Canadian authorities”.
“Saddened that the Gauri Shankar Mandir in Brampton was defaced. This on the heels of graffiti on the SwamiNarayan Mandir last September,” said Dipika Damerla, an Indo-Canadian politician from Mississauga, tweeted on Tuesday.
While the matter is under investigation by the Canadian authorities, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said on Tuesday that he has raised his concerns over this hate crime with Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.
In July 2022, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at a Vishnu Temple in the Richmond Hill neighbourhood of Canada was desecrated. In September 2022, Canada’s BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir was defaced by alleged Khalistani miscreants with anti-India graffiti. India had then issued a strongly-worded statement urging Canadian authorities to properly investigate the “increasing incidents” of hate crime against Indians.