Press Release: BAPS Toronto Mandir Vandalism: HinduPACT Calls for Authorities to Stop Pakistan-Backed Khalistani Targeting of Hindus Across North America


September 16, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C – A series of strategically targeted attacks against Hindus across North America, several of which were carried out by Pakistan-backed Khalistani extremists, is raising questions about whether enough is being done to address the alarming rise in anti-Hindu attacks by law enforcement. 

On Wednesday evening, Khalistani extremists vandalized and defaced the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto spray painting saffron-colored profanities on the temple’s entrance including “Hindustan murdabad” which translates to “death to India” and “Khalistan zindabad” which translates to “long live Khalistan.” Khalistan is a made up name for a non-existent nation idealized by Pakistani-backed Sikh obscurantists who wish to separate a part of Northern India into a nation by that name. It is important to note that the Khalistani narrative finds little to no support among Sikhs in India and elsewhere.

This incident follows a similar one last month where a Khalistani nationalist began berating a Hindu man in a California Taco Bell based on his dietary preferences and his choice of attire. 

Tejal Shah, Director of the VHPA’s Hindu Mandir Executive Conference (HMEC), said

“HMEC strongly condemns the defacing and vandalization of the BAPS mandir or any mandir. This is a shameful act of Hinduphobia, a hate crime and blatantly anti-India activity. We are looking for full scrutiny and strict actions from the government of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in addressing this unacceptable crime. This weekend, leaders of dozens of Hindu mandirs are gathering in Cincinnati, OH to discuss the safety and security of Hindu temples in North America and how mandirs can actively engage the local communities and law enforcement to provide enhanced security to mandirs and prevent such attacks in future.”

The Hudson Institute recently published a study on Kashmir and Khalistani movements in the United States titled, “Pakistan’s Destabilization Playbook: Khalistan Separatist Activism Within the US.”

Highlighting the Hudson Institute study, HinduPACT’s Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti said,

“This hate campaign is similar to the kind of hate that emerged in Khalistanis in the early 80s. It took very little time for the Khalistanis to go from hate speech to terrorist attacks. One such attack in 1985 led to the murder of 351 innocent people, the largest terror attack in Canadian history. It is important that the Justice Department and anti-terror agencies in Canada and the US realize this,” he added.

Ajay Shah, President of World Hindu Council of America and Convenor of HinduPACT while codeming this attack on the Hindu Mandir said,

“This incident comes just a few weeks after the vandalism at the Mandir in Queens, NY where a statue of Gandhi was twice vandalized. We strongly believe that these increased incidents of vandalism are directly correlated with the vitriol unleashed by Hindu-hating groups such as Hindus for Human Rights that have specifically targeted BAPS. It is disappointing to see that in addition to increased attacks on Mandirs, systemic Hinduphobia is growing in every sphere of North American Hindu life and is well documented.” Shah further added, “In Canada, we have seen the Prime Minister denigrate the sacred Hindu symbol the Swastika, giving Hindu haters more ammunitIon to attack them. On the other side of the border, in America, President Joe Biden and the White House failed to invite even one Hindu representative to their interfaith meeting titled “United We Stand” which was held on September 15.”