Hindu idols desecrated in Trinidad and Tobago

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS,

Port-of-Spain : The idols of Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh were desecrated in a temple in Trinidad.

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Vandals damaged the idols at the Kolahal Shiva Temple, Chaguanas in Central Trinidad Monday.

The incident took place a year after a gang of young men went to the temple by the sea in Waterloo Aug 4, 2007 and destroyed idols including those of gods Shiva and Krishna and goddess Durga. No one has been charged so far for the incident.

The desecration angered members of the Hindu community.

Satnarayan Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharam Maha Sabha, while condemning the incident, said it was the handiwork of “a handful of extremists, who are bent upon sowing the seeds of discord between Hindus and Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago”.

“The Hindu temple and the mosque which both religious groups use, stand next to each other. Both Hindus and Muslims share each other’s concerns and pains and triumphs in the community at all times. Why must some extremist groups intervene in the peaceful co-existence between Hindus and Muslims,” Maharaj said.

Imam Sheik Fazal Mohamed of the nearby mosque said the “suspects were not members of our mosque and what they did had reflected badly on the Islamic community. I hope they are caught and made to pay for the damages”.

A witness said that he saw two men knock down the idols and leave in a car. The ownership of the car has been confirmed.

Mohamed said: “Everyone is allowed to worship in their own way. What those men did was unIslamic and illegal. The murtis (idols) were not on the masjid’s compound. They went into the temple and desecrated them and that was wrong.”

Maharaj called the duo misguided and said they want to create disorder and disharmony between Hindus and Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago. “We will ensure that there will be no place for such acrimony.”

He said this country takes inter-religious and inter-racial issues seriously. He said the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) representing all the religious groups in the country will meet and discuss issues that confront each other’s religions or religious beliefs.

The Muslim community makes up about seven percent of the national population of 1.3 million people. Both groups came here from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other parts of North India between 1845 and 1917 to work on the sugar plantations here.

Ramesh Tiwari of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple, called on IRO to intervene and stop this “madness as we have enough of bloodshed through murders and other crimes”.