Opposition: Desecration of mandir was a hate crime

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A room in the temple which was ransacked by burglars. PHOTO COURTESY HANSRAJ RAMDHANIE.

OPPOSITION Senator Anil Roberts has blamed intolerance and racial discrimination for the desecration of the Carapo Shiva Mandir.

Perpetrators cooked corned beef in vessels used to make prasad, stole jewellery from the murtis and caused other damage.

Accusing the People’s National Movement (PNM) of dividing the races and discriminating against East Indians and Hindus, Roberts said this is what people are responding to.

His colleague Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal also condemned the act, branding it a hate crime.

“I condemn hate crime in this country against children, against religious institutions. I take note of what happened in Carapo, Arima a few days ago. It is a hate crime, crime driven by the arrogance of the PNM and Rowley.”

The two addressed the United National Congress (UNC) Monday night meeting in San Fernando.

“When a citizen could take their time to premeditate, come up with a conscious plan, know enough, read enough books to understand the Hindu religion, what is sacred to the Hindu faith and to go and purchase corned beef, take a car or a maxi to go to the mandir and cook corned beef in a sacred place – that is what the leadership has done, dividing this country.”

The cow is sacred in the Hindu religion, and devotees refrain from eating beef or any of its by-products.

He used as examples of discrimination the portrayal at a PNM sports day of gorillas dressed in red, representing the PNM, attacking and removing a yellow sari (representative of the UNC) from a woman.

He said the recent battle by the Hindu community for Government to restore the ban on open pyres to cremate their dead was another act of discrimination against Hindus.

Roberts also made scathing comments about an ethnic imbalance among national award recipients, adding, “That is not how we live. We love and respect one another.”

He challenged those who desecrated the Hindu temple, “to go buy some pork and go to Abu Bakr mosque and cook pork.” Muslims consider pork haram (forbidden or unclean).

“I dare you, because you must never disrespect religion like that.”

The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and Pandits Parishad has invited devotees to join them at the Carapo Shiva Mandir on May 12 for special prayers to restore its purity.