Hindu community in New South Wales has expressed deep concern over the growing attacks on the oldest and first temple in Australia by some unknown miscreants, according to a media report on Wednesday. Sri Mandir Temple in Auburn, which is more than three decades old, was recently attacked by two men in balaclavas (ski mask) who were caught on CCTV camera firing shots on the night of March 19.
Rohit Revo, a Sydney resident and an editor of a local Indian newspaper The Indian, said the recent attack was not the first one — the temple has been attacked several times before since 2004. Fortunately, no one has been killed or seriously injured but fear is growing among the priest and the people visiting the temple.
According to Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, a local police spokeswoman said detectives were working closely with the community as part of investigations into the incident. Last November, some people armed with metal bars smashed two windows at the time when worshippers were inside the premises. The temple’s priest Jatinkumar Bhatt claimed he had also been harassed by youths in the past, but he was scared by the shooting.
“I have a family as well, three kids and my wife,” he said, adding “Throwing eggs and bottles is an ongoing process but this bullet really put us in a panic.”
Revo said the footage of the attack was handed over to the police but nothing has been done to sort the issue. “Few bullets hit the wall at the temple entrance, just a feet away from the main door. One of the bullets grazed through the wall and ricocheted hitting the emergency door on the side of the temple,” he was quoted as saying by the paper. “A bullet was also fired on the roof of the temple which found its way through the false ceiling inside the temple. Looking at the bullet marks on the temple walls suggests that specialised big bullets were used in the operation. Normal bullets are of a very small width but these bullets have created bigger holes on the walls. Neighbours are also sick of the escalating violence and have extended silent support to the temple by sending them emails etc but fear speaking in the public,” Revo said. During the attack in November, there were six devotees inside the temple who were lucky enough to escape.