A Hindu temple in California’s Hayward has been defaced with pro-Khalistan graffiti. The incident at Sherawali temple comes weeks after the Swaminarayan temple in California’s Newark was also defaced with anti-India graffiti.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in a post on X shared a photo of the defacement.
“Another Bay Area Hindu temple attacked with pro-Khalistan graffiti. The Vijay’s Sherawali Temple in Hayward, CA sustained a copycat defacement just two weeks after the Swaminarayan Mandir attack and one week after a theft at the Shiv Durga temple in the same area. HAF is in touch with temple leaders and in contact with the police,” HAF said in the post.
The HAF highlighted the importance of installing security cameras and alarm systems, considering the rising threat from Khalistanis.
“We are once again encouraging all temple leaders to download the Hindu American temple safety guide… The guide specifically discusses that temple graffiti qualifies as a hate crime and also the importance of installing working security cameras and alarm systems in view of the rising threat from Khalistan proponents as well as the omnipresent risk from anti-Hindu actors,” the HAF said.
In December, suspected pro-Khalistan activists had allegedly defaced the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, police had said. The exterior wall of the Hindu temple was defaced with anti-India graffiti.
The Newark Police Service had started an investigation into the vandalism. “One of the devotees, who lives close to the shrine, discovered anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti in black ink on an exterior wall of the building, and the local administration was immediately informed,” Bhargav Raval, the spokesperson for the temple administration, told ANI.
The spokesperson said the temple authorities were shocked to find the anti-Indian graffiti on its wall. Shedding more light into the incident, Jonathan Arguello, a police captain for the city of Newark, said the “targeted act” was being investigated.
“Based on the graffiti, we believe it was a targeted act, and it’s going to be investigated with full thoroughness. I can also tell you that as a member of the Newark Police Department and the Newark community, we’re deeply saddened when these types of acts occur, and we think they’re senseless and they have no room. We won’t tolerate them here in Newark. So today, I wanted to make sure that you understand how seriously we take these situations and know that we will investigate as thoroughly as possible with utmost care and sensitivity. I can also tell you that officers are currently investigating this via evidence collection,” the captain told reporters during a press conference.
The police officer said to piece together the chain of events leading to the act of defacement, the footage from surveillance cameras in neighbouring homes were being looked into.
“Our policies that any acts of violence or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes motivated by hate or bias are considered very serious and given the utmost care. We’re handling this investigation as a hate crime at this point, based on our conversations with you and the physical evidence we’ve seen,” he said.