Mysterious figure and a black car are shown on CCTV during the hunt for vandals who spray-painted graffiti on a Hindu temple and called the Indian prime minister a terrorist – just weeks before Narendra Modi is expected in Sydney
- Narendra Modi is expected in Sydney this month
- Hindu temple destroyed in Rosehill
- Believed to be associated with Sikh activists in Sydney
A manhunt is underway for vandals who spray-painted a Hindu temple ahead of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Sydney to ‘declare Modi a terrorist’.
Narendra Modi, 72, arrives in Australia for the Quad leaders summit on May 24.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Rosehill in western Sydney was vandalized between 1 and 2 am on May 5.
NSW Police have now released CCTV footage as part of a desperate appeal for the public’s help in tracking it down.
One CCTV image is of a black vehicle last seen moving on Virginia Street toward James Ruse Drive in the early hours of May 5.
On Friday 5th May BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Rosehill was defaced sometime between 1am and 2am
They believe the vehicle’s occupants may have information that could help investigators, or even dashcam visibility.
The second image was released of a person dressed in dark clothing, wearing a dark cap and face mask at about the same time near the temple.
It is unknown if the person depicted has anything to do with the vehicle captured on CCTV footage.
It follows similar vandalism incidents at three Hindu temples in Melbourne and two in Brisbane.
They were allegedly carried out by activists angry at the treatment of Sikhs in India.
The Indian High Commission warned that ‘pro-Khalistan’ elements are becoming more active in Australia.
Khalistan is the name of the breakaway Sikh state that some want to form.
The High Commission in Canberra said these incidents are “clear attempts to sow hatred and division among the peaceful multi-religious and multi-cultural Indian-Australian community.”
NSW Police have released CCTV footage of the alleged vandals and have asked the public for help in tracking them down
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Temple told the The Sydney Morning Herald they are “deeply saddened by the anti-Indian graffiti on the temple walls.”
“We are further discouraged that BAPS temples in Australia have been targeted for the second time,” the statement said.
Federal Parramatta MP Andrew Charlton visited the temple to help repair the damage.
He was shocked and saddened by the “mindless vandalism.”
“Everyone in Australia has the right to practice their faith in peace. The federal government will not tolerate acts of religious extremism,” Charlton told SBS.
Federal Communications Secretary Michelle Rowland also condemned the attacks.
The Australian Sikh Association, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Guruduara and North Shore Sikh Association condemned the graffiti in a joint statement.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this heinous act of senseless vandalism of this religious site,” the statement said.
“We support our Hindu brothers and sisters in this difficult time and collectively demand the right to practice our faith in peace.”
Narendra Modi, 72, arrives in Australia for the Quad leaders summit on May 24
Cumberland Police Superintendent Sheridan Waldaun hopes the community can help track down those responsible.
“We also hope that the person, or the occupants of the car, will contact detectives, as we believe they may have information critical to the investigation,” she said.
‘NSW Police work closely with members of a very diverse community in western Sydney, and it is disappointing that actions such as this can cause unnecessary unrest.
“Police rely on the support of the local community to provide information so that it can be investigated, but it is important to know that the information provided will be kept strictly confidential,” she said.