Now Reading
State Department, Law Makers Condemn Vandalism at Swaminarayan Mandir Vasna Sanstha Temple in California 

State Department, Law Makers Condemn Vandalism at Swaminarayan Mandir Vasna Sanstha Temple in California 

  • The outer wall of the temple was sprayed with anti-India graffiti allegedly by pro-Khalistan activists.

The Indian American community in California’s Bay Area is urging authorities, including the FBI, to conduct a thorough investigation of the vandalism, allegedly by pro-Khalistan activists, at the Swaminarayan Mandir Vasna Sanstha (SMVS) temple in Newark. The exterior wall of the temple was sprayed with anti-India graffiti. The incident was discovered on Dec. 21 night by a devotee who lives close to the Swaminarayan Mandir Vasna Sanstha (SMVS) temple, a spokesperson told ANI, adding that the local administration was immediately informed. 

Police are currently investigating the incident which they believe is a targeted incident, according to Jonathan Arguello, a police captain for the city of Newark. Speaking at a news conference on Dec. 22 he said the police department is “deeply saddened when these types of acts occur, and we think they’re senseless and they have no room.”

The State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs condemned the attack and welcomed “efforts by the Newark Police Department to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”

Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.), who founded the Congressional Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain Caucus, expressed his “profound condemnation of the disgraceful act of vandalism.” In a statement, he said he denounces “such attacks of intolerance and call for a thorough investigation into this heinous crime.”

There are however no posts from other Indian American members of the U.S. Congress, notably Rep, Ro Khanna who represents the state’s 17th Congressional District. His silence was questioned by Ritesh Tandon, who is challenging the incumbent. “When are you going to condemn the Khalistanis,” he asked Khanna on X.

The incident was condemned by the Hindu American Foundation as well. “The mention of the Khalistan terrorist kingpin #Bhindranwale, who targeted Hindus for murder, is specifically meant to traumatize temple goers and create a fear of violence — meeting the CA definition of a hate crime,” the Hindu American Foundation wrote.

See Also

The incident comes almost a month after the U.S. accused the  Indian government of plotting to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta was “recruited” by an Indian government employee who directed an assassination plot from back home. Authorities allege that Gupta worked with an Indian government employee, identified in the documents as CC-1, who they say directed the assassination plot from India. The indictment added that CC-1 described himself as a “Senior Field Officer” with responsibilities in “Security Management” and “Intelligence.” Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

This July, the Consulate General of India in San Francisco was vandalized and set on fire by what news reports called “pro-Khalistan protesters.” A video posted on Twitter allegedly by the protestors themselves, and shared widely by news agencies and users, shows the building on fire, and the words “violence begets violence.”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.

This was the second time in the last five months that the premises were attacked. On March 19, Sikh separatists reportedly broke several windows. A few embassy workers were injured in the attack. Passing the makeshift security barriers raised by San Francisco police, the protesters reportedly installed two Khalistani flags inside the consulate premises. 

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top