Locals Hindus have been anguished after a temple has been repeatedly attacked in the UK. Reports suggest that the statues outside the Shree Ram Mandir (also known as the Gujarati Hindu Social and Cultural Centre) have been vandalised multiple times in the month of June. The temple is located in Fort Road, Walsall about nine miles from Birmingham.
In the first incident, some statues were smashed outside the temple on June 10. Authorities claim that the temple was attacked again on June 19 at 1 pm. CCTV footage showed a man with what seemed like a cricket bat or hockey stick, breaking the statues and running away with the face of one of the statues.
Following the attack, the Hindu community has expressed sadness. Some fear that they may attack a person the next time. A staff member of the temple, Jagu Patel said, “We just want to know why the people who did this did so. They don’t get anything from this and it just seems senseless. We’ve never had this before and it’s very sad, as we are a Hindu temple in a quiet area of Walsall and we feel that every person should live peacefully with heart and soul”.
Jagu also said that the statues were custom made and would be difficult to replace. It would also cost a lot as they need to be imported from India.
Rajan Zed, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism in a statement said, “It is shocking for the worldwide Hindus to hear about such incidents happening to a Hindu house of worship. This causes heartbreak to the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful area Hindu community by receiving such signals of hatred and intimidation. British Hindus have made a lot of contributions to the nation and society and continue to do so”.
Zed also urged local leaders to immediately visit the temple and meet with the Hindu community and reassure them. The police have confirmed the attack and are yet to nab the culprit.
In November 2018, three Krishna idols were stolen from the Swaminarayan Temple in Willesden, in what is suspected to be a hate crime. Before that, there was another break-in at the Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple at Kenton. Ever since the incident, Hindu priests there have sought the help of Community Security Trust (CST) to upgrade the temple security.
The CST is an organisation that has been charged with protecting the Jewish community in the UK. Responding to the calls for help, so far they have trained 80 Hindu priests in order to prevent such incidents in the future.
In Delhi, a total of 17 people have been arrested after the Durga Mata temple in Hauz Qazi was attacked recently.