One of the cars that was damaged at the Pranavananda Ashram at Temple Street off Beaucarro Road in Freeport on Sunday by a group of people who threw stones. PHOTOS COURTESY RUDRANATH INDARSINGH –
Central Division police have not yet arrested anyone for throwing stones at a temple and damaging several cars while devotees were worshiping. However, investigators said they have “obtained useful information,” and Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh has condemned the attack.
The police said the incident happened at around 6.30 pm on Sunday at the Pranavananda Ashram at Temple Street off Beaucarro Road in Freeport, where Hindu devotees were engaged in a religious prayer meeting.
They heard noises emanating from the temple’s roof and saw a group of male adolescents throwing objects at the temple on checking.
Devotees called out to the boys who ran off.
Further checks revealed five vehicles were damaged, and Freeport police were called in.
The police responded and gathered evidence. The police also searched for the suspects, proving futile but obtaining useful information.
PC Ramdeen is leading the investigations.
Meanwhile, Indarsingh referred to the incident as the “latest anti-Hindu attack in Couva South.”
The Opposition MP, via a media statement on Monday, said the group’s president, Sujeet Kanhai, the pundit, and over 80 devotees were offering Kanya Kumari puja, which is key to ongoing Navraatri observations. The vandals threw stones and other debris on the compound, which also houses the Pranava Educational Institute.
“Walls, pipelines, roofs, devotees’ cars were all damaged, while the principal of the school and a parent were almost damaged as huge stones were hurled in their direction,” Indarsingh said.
From what he was told, the children were left seriously traumatised.
Indarsingh added that there had been a growing concern for incidents within Hindu communities as well as non-Hindu religious sites.
He recalled that within the last few years, places of worship had been vandalised, desecrated, and robbed of their valuables.
“Two nights ago, the Tarouba Recreation Grounds, a popular Ramleela site, was attacked. Tents were stolen and props created for use in the Ramleela production were destroyed,” Indarsingh said.
“On September 10, the Williamsville Hindu Temple was attacked. On September 22, at the Lakrani Ganesh Mandir on Gopie Trace, Penal, murtis were demolished, and on September 28, the Kali Mata Temple in Carli Bay, Couva, was graffitied.”
Indarsingh also recalled that the Tableland ASJA Jamaat was vandalised in September last year, the St Francis RC Church in Belmont and the Claxton Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church were also subject to vandalism last year.
Indarsingh called on the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) to examine the issues of the attacks against religious bodies and places of worship.
He commended the police for their swift response, adding they must also now ensure that those responsible for this dastardly, abominable act are caught and brought before the courts.
Indarsingh added, “We demand concrete analysis and solutions that could assist with the protection and security of our citizens and their places of worship.”