Probe Launched Following Incidents of Temple Desecration in Fiji
Police have started investigations after recent incidents involving desecration of two Hindu temples in Fiji.
A police investigation has been launched after a Hindu temple was broken into in Fiji on Dec. 25, less than 10 days after another one was desecrated.
Three men entered the Shree Sanatan Dharam Ramayan Mandali at Waila in Nausori while others stood guard outside, Radio Fiji One reported an eye-witness, Ramzan Khan, as saying. Idols were destroyed, religious books were torn and money was stolen before they escaped, the report added.
The earlier incident of desecration of a Hindu temple in Fiji had angered the community in the country as well as outside. The police are investigating the incident that took place on Dec. 16 at Votualevu Tirath Dam Mandir in Nadi area.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama also expressed concern at the incident. Bainimarama has “stressed the importance of investigating this right away and getting the perpetrators to justice,” FijiSun quoted Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho as saying.
“This is religious intolerance and it will not be condoned,” Qiliho said. “As responsible citizens we must respect each others religion and the Police will do a thorough investigation and we will apprehend the perpetrators. They will be brought to justice.”
The miscreants poured paint over the images of deities Ganesha and Hanuman, etc., painted graffiti/slurs on walls, stole the donation box, sound system and other equipment, and threw rubbish in the prayer area.
Fiji Hindus expressed their ire over the incident on social media. One user said on Facebook: “Fiji is incompetent not only in the health department but also the justice department as well! Why on earth would it be impossible to catch the perpetrator(s) because there was no surveillance system!”
Others urged the community to donate a CCTV for the temple for better security.
“It has been so helpful to have the Police Commissioner come and visit us. This is our place of worship. We keep it sacred, we treasure it and for some people to come and just rubbish it has really hurt us,” Votualevu Tirath Dam Mandir Committee president Naresh Kumar told Fiji Sun.
“We are sad to have our temple in this state, this is not right,” Parmen Nath Bharos, an executive at the temple, was quoted as saying in another report. “We are not aware who did this,” he said, adding, “We are not pointing a finger at anyone. Positive steps needs to be taken and we must accept other religions.”