Toronto, Jan 31 (PTI) The founder and priest of the Gauri Shankar temple in Brampton, which was targeted with anti-India graffiti, on Tuesday urged the Indian government to revoke the passports of all those involved in the anti-India activities in Canada.
Dhirendra Tripathi, who has been living in Brampton city for more than two decades, also demanded stern action from the Canadian authorities against those who on Monday vandalised the temple with hate-filled messages directed towards India, causing an outrage among the Indian community.
According to Tripathi, the vandalisation of the Gauri Shankar Temple, committed by anti-social elements, took place on Monday night.
The priest said there were no cameras in the street where the perpetrators wrote hateful messages on the roadside wall of the temple.
'We urged that the Indian government consider revoking passports and not issuing visas to Canadian passport holders involved in anti-India activities so that they will not be able to return to India ever,' Tripathi told PTI.
'Khalistanis have caused fear among us. They have become emboldened and the community is uncertain about their next actions. Canadian authorities should take stern steps to curb their activities,” Tripathi added.
The Indian Consulate General in Toronto said the defacing of the temple had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Indian community in Canada.
'We have raised our concerns on the matter with Canadian authorities,' the consulate office said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Canadian authorities are currently investigating the vandalisation, which is not an isolated incident. In the past seven months, at least three similar acts of vandalism have been recorded in Canada.
Tripathi reported the vandalisation of the Gauri Shankar Temple to the police and has received assurances from local officials, including MP Sonia Siddhu, that the incident will be thoroughly investigated.
Brampton mayor Patrick Brown, condemning the defacing, said: “This hateful act of vandalism has no place in our city or country. I have raised my concerns over this hate crime with Peel Regional Police chief Nishan Duraiappah. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their place of worship.” The Ayodhya-born priest of the Brampton temple believes that “Canadian law needs to be strengthened to better deal with anti-social elements”.
“Law is too flexible and should be revised to effectively tackle such activities,” he stressed.
Last September, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement condemning the rise of hate crimes against Indians and anti-India activities in Canada, expressing their concern with stern language.
Statistics Canada reported a 72 per cent increase in hate crimes based on religion, sexual orientation, and race between 2019 and 2021.
This has led to increased fears among minority communities, particularly the Indian community, which is the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada, accounting for almost four per cent of the population.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without any modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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