April: The month when the Hindu Temples were targeted across the world

Hindu, Hinduism, Trinidad and Tobago, Manipur, Temples, Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan

April was a terrible month for the Hindus as they witnessed desecration of their Temples across the world. India, a Hindu-majority country witnessed two major Temple desecrations. We reported the Temple desecration in Manipur but there was also a Temple ‘desecration’ in Kashmir.

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Bhargshikha Devi located in Anantnag district of South Kashmir was found vandalized. Some protests were also done by a few groups who felt that the state government failed to protect this ancient Hindu Temple but the government later said that an investigation inside the shrine’s complex found all its properties “intact”. But yet, considering the past, the investigation report did not convince anyone although BJP is also part of the J&K government.

In October last year, Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan formed a Hindu group to tackle the human rights issues of the Hindus in Sri Lanka and in April this year, he had brought to notice the destruction of Pillayaar Temple at Vellaankulam, in Mannar district of Sri Lanka.

In his report he had alleged the role of a Catholic Priest who is in charge of the parish Devanpiddy, a village to the west of Vellankulam towards the coastline, and said that he led the Vandals at midnight on 23rd/ 24th April to destroy the Pillayar Temple and attack the Hindu residents causing extensive damage to Hindus and their properties.
A police case was registered and the government officials including the Provincial Police Director and a Hindu Cultural Officer had visited the site of vandalization but no action was taken to arrest or register a case against the perpetrators of violence in the name of religion, the activist later noted.

He also said that there was complete harmony and co-operation between the Christians and the Hindus until the Catholic parish Priest of Devanpiddy illegally planted a 2 meters tall Cross inside the Hindu village of Vellankulam in close proximity to the Pillaiyaar Temple on the Pongal day on 14th January 2017.

Since there was no permission for this erection from any authority in Mannar District, Hindus lodged a protest on 15th January with the Divisional Prathesay Sabai and Divisional Secretary, (the relevant authorities) to have the Christian Cross removed from the Hindus only village. It was not removed.

Sachchithananthan went personally to the offices of Divisional Secretary, Admanpan, and Pradeiya Secretary Aadkaadiveli to present written memorandums on this illegal construction and asked them to have it removed.

He later said that Hindus removed the illegal erection of the Cross Hindus on 23rd April as it was a source of irritation to the Hindu only environment. Also, it was a corrupt influence on the school children. Hindus also felt that it was an attempt to convert the Hindus to Christianity. So, they removed it.

Then on the night of 25th April, Sachchithananthan reported that the Catholic Parish Priest of Devanpiddy led a party of drunken men from his village to attack another Temple, the Munnaiswaran Temple at Vellankulam. As Hindus became aware of this, they assembled to chase the Vandals led by the Catholic Priest. But the damage was done as is clear from the pictures.

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Sachchithananthan said that even though Hindus form 40% of the District population, yet, there are no elected representatives to represent their plight.

He also lamented that all elected representatives are Christians while the District Administrative and Judicial officials are also Christians.

The police force, he noted, is Buddhist and the Hindus are at the mercy in their land of more than 5,000 years of cultural heritage. But like always, this desecration failed to gain any limelight. Not even social media bothered to raise this issue.

In April itself, a Hindu Temple was found desecrated in Gharo, Sindh, Pakistan.

The perpetrators not only attacked the Temple but smashed idols of the Hindu Temple of Rama Pir and dumped their sacred pratimas/statues in the sewage. On 29th April, the incident came to light after Hindus found the pratimas desecrated.SHO of Gharo city and DSP of Mirpurkhas city took all the information from the Hindus but a Hindu councilman, Lal Maheshwari later said that ‘we didn’t get any security for the Hindu Temple’ and that the ‘Hindus were feeling highly insecure.’

SSP Thatto city took the notice of the incident and went away.

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In Trinidad and Tobago, where Hindus are a minority, stands a Hindu Temple, lovingly named as the ‘Temple by the Sea.’ This Temple too was targeted by the Vandals and they stole not just money but did damage to the property as well.

President of the Temple by the Sea committee, Randolph Rampersad, was quoted by the Trinidad Express as saying that the latest incident was not even reported to the nearby Freeport Police Station and that the committee and devotees will instead try to take the matter of security for the Temple into their own hands.

Temple by the Sea after facing desecration by Vandals.
Temple by the Sea after facing desecration by Vandals.

This Temple is considered a landmark of the nation and yet it continued to meet this sad fate. Randolph Rampersad told the newspaper that:

“We have made so many reports previously and nothing has come out of them. I am not going to waste the police service’s time nor my time. We are going to see how we can handle it ourselves.”

In 2007 also, the Vandals had desecrated this landmark Temple by piling up the goods in the center of the Temple and then they tried to burn them. The Vandals in their mad frenzy destroyed carpets, electrical wiring, lights, glass windows and concrete pillars. The cost to repair the damage and burglar proof the structure was estimated at more than $100,000.

Then in 2015, Hindu shrine in Blanchisseuse village was vandalized and defaced with human filth. Destruction of statues of deities and other property also took place while reports emerged that a ShivaLingam also met a similar fate.

The attack drew international condemnation.
The attack drew international condemnation.

This attack drew international condemnation with Hindu leader Rajan Zed saying that it was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Hindu community of Trinidad and Tobago and worldwide; who had made lot of contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and the world; to receive such signals of hatred and anger.

Hindu Temple Shree Shankar Mandir, 139 Cacandee Road faced desecration as well.
Hindu Temple Shree Shankar Mandir, 139 Cacandee Road faced desecration as well.

In Trinidad and Tobago, in the year 2013, a Hindu Temple named Shree Shankar Mandir, 139 Cacandee Road, in Felicity was first burgled and then the emboldened Vandals even tried to burn the building down.

But it is indeed a marvel that such desecrations are taking place across the world at regular intervals and yet, no media coverage is devoted to combating this heinous crime anywhere and that is indeed ominous.

By Namta Gupta

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