At least two other burglaries at temples in Canada’s Greater Toronto Area last week have left the Hindu community worried for their safety and frustrated by the lack of progress in investigations into what appears to be a series of break-ins, of thefts and vandalism specifically targeting Hindu places of worship.
The Bharat Mata Mandir in Brampton was robbed on Thursday evening, with thieves escaping with the collections in the donation boxes. “The temples, one by one, are targeted. These serial attacks may be an attempt to instill fear. This needs to be properly investigated,” temple priest Keshab Koirala said, confirming the incident.
It happened one night after an unsuccessful break-in at the Ram Mandir in Mississauga, in which the perpetrators appear to have fled after a security alarm was triggered.
These two follow at least half a dozen similar incidents that were reported in January and come even as Peel Regional Police and the Hamilton Police Service are actively investigating the burglaries.
The incidents that appear to be intentionally targeting Hindu temples began on January 15, with an unsuccessful break-in attempt at the Shri Hanuman Mandir in Brampton.
On January 25, another temple in Brampton, the Maa Chintpurni Mandir, was burglarized, and a series of similar episodes were reported in the following days at the Gauri Shankar Mandir and Jagannath temple, both in Brampton, as well as at Hindu Heritage Center. in Mississauga and the Hamilton Samaj Temple.
At the Hindu Heritage Center in Mississauga, the break-in happened on January 30. Two individuals broke in, searched through donation boxes and ransacked the main office.
“Congregants and priests have been traumatized by this incident,” the temple said in a statement.
Each of these break-ins appear to involve two people and take place in the early hours of the morning.
“Targeting so many temples in such a short time is unprecedented in Canadian history. Right now there is growing insecurity in the community as people still wonder why so many temples are being deliberately targeted. Community members find it even more shocking that the perpetrators have not been arrested,” said Kushagr Sharma, associate at the Hindu Heritage Center and vice-president of the Hindu Chamber of Commerce of Canada.