It was a direct attack on the mandir in Carapo, near Arima last Friday night. The mandir was ramsacked. Items were stolen; there were thousands of dollars in losses. It was an act of anti-Hindu and anti-Indian hate. It had to be pre-planned. It violated the sanctity of a place of worship, desecrating the mandir. It must be condemned. It warrants an immediate investigation.
Vandals invaded the Carapo Shiv Mandir mandir, desecrating it, and cooked beef in the ‘karahi’ used to make parsad (halwa or mohanbhog). Beef is prohibited in Hinduism. Meat is not allowed in a mandir.
The temple’s vice president Hansraj Ramdhanie told media reporters as reported in Trinidad Newsday as well as Express that mandir members went to the temple on Friday around 7 pm to prepare for Mother’s Day celebrations scheduled for Saturday and found the place in shambles. Ramdhanie said the presence of beef disrespected out faith.
Ramdhanie told reporters that that doors to the various rooms in the mandir were opened, the rooms were ransacked and there were acts of vandalism. he claimed: “The necklaces and accessories on the murtis were burst or stolen. The plumbing on the water pumps was disconnected because it seemed they tried to steal it. They stole the cooking gas tanks, stove and microwave.”
President of the Mandir, Naresh Teemul said the violation of the mandir is a hate crime. Teemul said there were thousands of dollars in losses for the broken fixtures and windows and the kitchen utensils and pots that were used by the criminals were incomparable to the mental anguish of the devotees.
Ramdhanie recalled that in 2018, a person or group of people attempted to burn the mandir by setting the curtains and religious books on fire, but fortunately the fire did not spread. Ramdhanie told the Express reporter that as the news of the incident spread, the mandir’s management and devotees received an outpouring of support from Hindus and non-Hindus.
Ramdhanie said the devotees have begun sanitising the premises. he was quoted as saying: “After the sanitisation, there is to be a purification process, where prayers for the sanctification of the mandir are to be done on the premises, led by the spiritual head of the mandir, Pandit Rakesh Maharaj”.
Oropouche East MP, Dr Roodal Moonilal, has condemned the burglary as “appalling”. President of the Inter-religious Organisation Pandit Mukesh Sirjoo, in a report in express, also condemned the acts of vandalism and desecration of the mandir. the paper also quoted Pandita Indrani Rampersad: “This is Hinduphobia — hatred and contempt for Hindus—as indicated by the cooking of meat, especially beef, in sacred space as the mandir”.
Dr Moonilal issued a press release saying the desecration of the Carapo Shiv Mandir “was a sad reflection on a society that still has not fostered unity, respect, and tolerance for each other”. Aside from dr. moonilal, no other politician has condemned the act of vandalism.
The Oropouche East MP also drew parallels with the desecration of the temple and the disdain he claims the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) have for Hindus. He says the ruling party does not have a practising Hindu in the House of Representatives. The appointed Senate has Hindus. bringing in politics, Moonilal wrote: “… It was equally important for the PNM administration to set the moral tone for society, with reverence and deference to believers of all faiths and governance that does not shield lawbreakers, including land grabbers, in its fold. The desecration (of the temple) is an expression of the disdain and contempt many still bear in this diverse country, despite the lofty phrases in our National Anthem and watchwords. This was most evident, Moonilal claimed in his release, in the country’s leadership, with the PNM not having a practising Hindu among its MPs, its alleged mockery of certain religious observances, “and blatant discrimination against certain communities. The PNM must abandon its biases and prejudices and govern equitably and justly, thereby setting an ethical and principled example.”
The MP stated that “the despicable criminals who dishonoured the temple must be brought to justice and feel the full weight of the law”.
PHOTO uplifted from Express (HANSRAJ RAMDHANIE).
By Vishnu Bisram