Indian diplomats have condemned the defacing of a Hindu temple in Ontario, Canada with political slogans. It was the second such incident in the Canadian province in little more than two weeks.
Vandals defaced the wall of the Ram Mandir temple in the city of Mississauga with slogans directed at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s consulate in Toronto called on the Canadian authorities to “take prompt action on perpetrators.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie tweeted that she was “angered by the hateful and divisive graffiti,” and that the police were investigating the vandalism. “These blatant attacks are not reflective of our city and region’s diversity and will not be tolerated,” she said.
I'm angered by the hateful and divisive graffiti defacing @missrammandir today. These blatant attacks are not reflective of our City and region's diversity and will not be tolerated. @PeelPolice are investigating and working with the community to ensure their safety. https://t.co/igdGrJBNjk
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) February 14, 2023
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In late January, graffiti was discovered on a wall of a Hindu temple in Brampton. According to local media, the slogans were linked to the Sikh secessionist movement in India’s Punjab state. The graffiti caused outrage, with Chandra Arya, a member of Canada’s parliament of Indian origin, urging the government at the time to “start taking this seriously.”
Another temple was attacked in Ontario in September, and a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced in the province in July.
We strongly condemn the defacing of Ram Mandir in Missisauga with anti-India graffiti. We have requested Canadian authorities to investigate the incident and take prompt action on perpetrators.
— IndiainToronto (@IndiainToronto) February 14, 2023
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In September, the Canadian Sikh community organized an unofficial referendum in Brampton on the question of whether Punjab should become “an independent country.” A similar vote took place in Mississauga in November. Canada is home to one of the largest Sikh diasporas in the world.
India has condemned the vote held by the “anti-Indian elements.” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in November that Canada had assured New Delhi that it would respect its sovereignty and not recognize the Sikh referendums.
The National Statistical Office of Canada showed a 72 per cent rise in hate crimes in Canada between 2019 and 2021 targeting a person’s race, religion or sexual orientation.