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Six Hindu Temples Subjected To Break-Ins In Past One Month As Canada Becomes "Safe Haven For Criminals"

Nishtha Anushree

Oct 12, 2023, 07:32 PM | Updated 07:32 PM IST

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau

Since September, at least six Hindu temples in the province of Ontario in Canada have been subjected to break-ins. While the Durham Regional Police initially reported three burglaries in October, it has now been revealed that three additional temples were targeted in September.

The temples affected include the Devi Mandir in Pickering, Sankat Mochan Mandir in Ajax, and the Hindu Mandir Durham in Oshawa, as indicated in the Durham Police release on 8 October.

Fortunately, the Devi Mandir avoided theft from donation boxes as the resident priest, Girish Khali, activated the fire alarm, prompting the suspect to flee, Hindustan Times reported.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) witnessed break-ins at the Chintpurni Temple in Brampton on 9 September, Rameshwar Mandir in Caledon on 18 September, and the Hindu Heritage Centre in Mississauga on 4 October.

Police described the suspect as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing around 200 pounds, wearing a blue surgical mask, a black poofy jacket with a tightly zipped hood, green camo cargo pants, and green running shoes. The individual was observed walking with a limp, a detail corroborated by CCTV footage from the Hindu Heritage Centre.

In response to the incidents, the Rameshwar Mandir management, in a Facebook statement on 22 September, mentioned an ongoing police investigation and assured cooperation to swiftly resolve the matter. The statement emphasised the temple's commitment to visitor and devotee safety, along with the security of the premises.

These recent burglaries follow a series of similar incidents in the GTA in late 2021 and early last year, totaling at least 18 break-ins. In March 2022, three individuals were arrested in connection with these burglaries, causing concern within the Indo-Canadian community.

Notably, amid the ongoing diplomatic row, Arindam Baghchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), had alleged Canada of providing "safe haven to organised crimes and terrorists."

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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