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Miscreants smash Surrey Hindu temple's window, members suspect hate crime

Vancouverdesi.com  Surrey, June 24, 2013
First Published: 10:57 IST(24/6/2013) | Last Updated: 13:47 IST(24/6/2013)

Two Indo Canadian men on Early Sunday Morning smashed window at a Hindu temple using baseball bats.

Grainy video footage obtained by RCMP investigators shows two men, who appear to be Indo-Canadian, walk up to Lakshmi Narayan Temple on 140th Street. After shattering the window, the two men run out of the shot.

The tape's timecode shows that the incident happened early Sunday morning.

While Surrey RCMP said it is treating the incident as mischief, members of the Hindu community see the act as a hate crime.

According to Parshottam Goel, president of the temple, a splintered baseball bat left at the scene provided a telling detail about the suspects.

"The baseball bat they left had a Sikh last name on it," Goel told The Province. The Sikh symbol of Khanda, which depicts two crossed kirpans beneath a double-edged sword, was also inscribed on the wooden bat.

Goel believes the timing of the crime is linked to a candlelight vigil being held at the temple this week to remember the 329 victims of Air India flight 182.

Sunday marked the 28th anniversary of the bombing, which killed all 280 Canadians on board. The attack remains the largest mass murder of Canadians in history.

Two Sikh men from British Columbia (BC) were suspects in the bombing plot, but were eventually acquitted. The court's decision caused an outcry from the victims' families and widened a long-standing rift between BC's Sikh and Hindu communities.

"There are some people who oppose (the vigil) and these men might be in one of those groups," Goel said.

Police insisted that they do not have enough information to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

"We're treating it as nothing more than mischief," said Sgt Dale Carr of the Surrey RCMP. "We interviewed elders at the temple, who said they received no threats."

The candlelight vigil will not be affected by the recent attack, Goel said. It will be held at the temple on Tuesday evening.

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