IBNS: A temple in Canada‘s British Columbia was on Saturday desecrated with anti-India and pro-Khalistan posters. The posters, a chilling reflection of extremist views, were audaciously put up on the temple’s front gate and rear wall.
The Lakshmi Narayan Mandir located in the tranquil town of Surrey was visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in 2015.
This act, whether intended as a political message or a blatant display of disdain for Canadian secular values, can only be described for what it truly is: a hate crime.
The Indian community in Surrey is palpably besieged by fear and anxiety. The very thought that such a profound symbol of their faith and identity could be attacked is deeply unsettling. But what is even more alarming is the seeming indifference of the Canadian authorities.
Khalistani extremists appear emboldened, possibly due to what they perceive as passive acceptance, or worse, tacit approval, from the provincial and federal governments. This emboldenment could be attributed to the absence of swift and unequivocal condemnations from prominent political figures.
This temple attack also paints a larger picture: the vulnerability of religious minorities in Canada.
The apparent targeting of the Hindu community is an affront to the very fabric of Canada’s multicultural society. Canada has long been a beacon of hope for people from all over the world, who come seeking a place where they can practice their faith, culture, and traditions without fear. This incident casts a dark shadow on Canada’s reputation and raises serious questions about whether the country’s commitment to freedom of religion is merely rhetorical.
Maninder Gill, president of the Surrey-based Friends of Canada and India Foundation, has condemned the incident.
Canada stands at a crucial crossroads. Incidents like these, if left unchecked or inadequately addressed, are seen to ferment further divisions and potentially embolden extremist elements.
The desecration of the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir should serve as a wake-up call to Canada.