New Delhi: Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell on Friday expressed shock at the vandalism of two Hindu temples in Melbourne and said that the matter is under investigation. “Our strong support for freedom of expression does not include hate speech or violence,” he wrote.
Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs was defaced with pro-Khalistan slogan within a week of anti-India and anti-Hindu graffiti on the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Mill Park.
“Like India, Australia is a proud, multicultural country. We have been shocked at the vandalism of two Hindu temples in Melbourne, & Australian authorities are investigating. Our strong support for freedom of expression does not include hate speech or violence,” Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell tweeted.
The tweet comes after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday informed that India has urged Australia to investigate incidents of vandalisation of two temples near Melbourne and take action against the perpetrators.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the matter has been taken up with the Australian government both in Canberra and New Delhi. “Recently a couple of temples have been vandalised in Australia. We condemned these incidents. Both are near Melbourne. We strongly condemned these actions,” Bagchi said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
“These actions have also been publicly condemned by Australian leaders, community leaders and religious associations there,” he said, replying to a question at his weekly media briefing. He further stated that the Indian consulate general in Melbourne has taken up the matter with local police.
“We have requested expeditious investigation, action against the perpetrators and measures to prevent such incidents in future. The matter has also been taken up with the Australian government both in Canberra and in New Delhi,” the MEA spokesperson said. “26 Jan Delhi D-day”, “Khalistan Zindabad”, and “Target Modi” were the slogans painted over the walls of Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, as per the photos shared by The Australia Today.
The walls of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Mill Park were defaced earlier. Photos posted by The Australia Today showed slogans of “Hindustan Murdabad”, “Sant Bhindrawale Martyr”, and “Modi Hitler” painted over the temple walls.