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India slams vandalisation of temples in Australia, calls swift probe

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) Condemning the recent vandalisation of two Hindu temples in Australia, India on Thursday said it has taken up the matter with the government there and expects investigation and swift action against the perpetrators.

“We are aware of a couple of temples that have been vandalised in Australia… We strongly condemn these such actions,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly briefing.

“These actions have also been publicly condemned by Australian leaders, community leaders and religious associations there,” Bagchi said.

The vandalism of Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs, Victoria, on January 17 came just days after alleged Khalistan supporters defaced the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Mill Park with anti-India graffiti.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that the Indian Consulate-General in Melbourne has taken up the matter with the local police.

Requesting a thorough probe into the incident, India has taken up the matter with the Australian government to prevent such incidents in future.

“We have requested expeditious investigation, action against the perpetrators and, of course, measures to prevent such incidents in the future,” Bagchi said.

“The matter has also been taken up with the Australian government — both in Canberra and in New Delhi, and we are looking forward to the action that we’ve requested,” Bagchi added.

Makrand Bhagwat, Hindu Council of Australia’s Victoria state President, had told Australia Today that “any kind of hatred and vandalism against places of worship is not acceptable and we condemn it”.

He promised to raise the issue with the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Multicultural Minister of Victoria.

Melbourne Hindu community member Sachin Mahate had said, “If these Khalistan supporters have the courage they should go and draw graffiti on the Victorian Parliament building rather than target peaceful Hindu communities’ religious places.”

According to census data, Hinduism is the fastest-growing religion in Australia. In the 2021 Australian census, Hinduism grew by 55.3 per cent to 684,002 people.

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