Outrage and condemnation as Hindu temple defaced amid tensions over Pannun case


Several US lawmakers, including 3 prominent Indian-American Congressmen, strongly condemn the vandalism in California

Our Bureau
Newark, CA

Suspected pro-Khalistan activists allegedly defaced the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California. The exterior wall of the Hindu temple was defaced with anti-India graffiti. The Newark Police Service has already started an investigation.

According to the temple administration, the incident took place on Thursday night. “One of the devotees, who lives close to the shrine, discovered anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti in black ink on an exterior wall of the building, and the local administration was immediately informed,” Bhargav Raval, the spokesperson for the temple administration, who added that the temple authorities were shocked to find the anti-Indian graffiti on its wall.

The police official said to piece together the chain of events leading to the act of defacement, the footage from surveillance cameras in the neighboring residences was being looked into.

The temple spokesperson added the temple authorities were ‘shocked’ to find the anti-Indian graffiti on its wall.

This is not the first such incident where a temple has been defaced with such graffiti in the recent past. The incident comes close on the heels of the US Justice Department unsealing an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate India-designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil.

The Justice Department claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities, according to prosecutors.

Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities arrested and detained Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the US and the Czech Republic.

Reacting to the Justice Department’s indictment, the Ministry of External Affairs said the case filed against an individual in a US court, allegedly linking him to an Indian official, was a “matter of concern” and is contrary to government policy.

“We cannot share any further information on such security matters. As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and let me reiterate that this is contrary to government policy” the MEA spokesperson said.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who was declared a ‘designated individual terrorist’ by the Government of India on July 1, 2020, has been actively exhorting Punjab-based gangsters and youth over social media to fight for the cause of the independent state of Khalistan, challenging the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country, NIA investigations have shown.

Pannun has been under the NIA lens since 2019 when the anti-terror agency registered its first case against him.

Meanwhile, several US lawmakers, including 3 prominent Indian-American Congressmen, have strongly condemned the vandalism of a Hindu temple in California.  Congressman Ro Khanna, who represents California’s 17th Congressional District located in Silicon Valley, said in a post on X that he strongly condemns the “defacing” of the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California which is in his district.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi termed the defacing of the Swaminarayan temple as “despicable” and said he strongly condemns it. Krishnamoorthi, the US representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district, said he is glad the community is rallying in support of the mandir.

Congressman Shri Thanedar also expressed his profound condemnation of the “disgraceful act of vandalism”. “This desecration, marked by anti-India graffiti, strikes at the very essence of our diverse and inclusive society. I denounce such attacks of intolerance and call for a thorough investigation into this heinous crime,” Thanedar, the US representative from Michigan’s 13th congressional district, said.

Earlier, Khalistanis allegedly attacked the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Videos of supporters breaking the doors and barging into the office surfaced on social media.

Visuals shared online showed a mob brandishing Khalistan flags mounted on wooden poles, using them to smash glass doors and windows of the consulate building.

They raised pro-Khalistan slogans as they broke through makeshift security barriers raised by the city police and installed two Khalistani flags inside the premises.

In another related incident in Canada, a Hindu temple was defaced by extremist elements with Khalistan referendum posters in August. The incident happened in British Columbia province in Canada. The posters shared by Australia Today, read “Canada investigates the role of India in June 18th assassination”.

The video of the incident also went on social media platforms. The video shared by Australia Today showed two masked men putting up the posters and taking photos before fleeing the scene. The poster on the temple gate referred to and also had the picture of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead by unidentified assailants in June this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top