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THE NEWSLETTER

October 01 to October 14

In a world interconnected by the threads of globalization, the flow of information has become more pervasive than ever before. However, amid this vast sea of news, there exists a poignant narrative that often remains hidden – the violence against Hindus and the persecution they endure across various regions. This fortnightly report endeavors to bring out these often-overlooked incidents, providing an unbiased and comprehensive selection of news agencies' reports on violence, persecution and discrimination faced by the Hindu community globally along with the positive reports celebrating Hindu Heritage.


The primary objective of this report is to present a clear and objective overview of incidents as reported by credible news agencies. By collating and analyzing this information, our aim is to raise awareness about Hindu culture and values besides advocating for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hindus worldwide.



United Arab Emirates

Among the several unique features of Abu Dhabi’s first-ever temple are its seven spires, each representing an Emirate of the UAE.

BAPS Hindu Mandir, the historic temple made of pink sandstones and white marble, is coming up on 27 acres of land in Abu Mureikha, off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. Set for a grand inauguration on February 14, 2024, the final phase of construction is underway to create the Middle East’s first traditional Hindu stone temple.

The hand-carved temple is being built according to the ancient Hindu ‘Shilpa shastras’ – Sanskrit scriptures of architecture and sculpture. The intricate carvings showcase the rich history and culture of India and include Arab symbols like horses, camels and oryx. The monumental work of artisans depicts key moments from the Indian epics Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other narratives from Hindu scriptures and mythology.



Nepal

While communal riots have increased across Nepal, local authorities and district administration offices have started using curfews as effective tool to control conflicts.

Religious intolerance rose in Dharan sub-metropolis after a video of people consuming beef spread rapidly on different social media platforms. Following the videos, Hindu activists had invited a large number of people across Koshi Province to participate in the 'Protect Cow' rally.

Similarly, in Malangwa, Sarlahi, a curfew was imposed for a long time until normalcy returned. Prohibitory order was imposed in Malangwa following a clash between Muslim and Hindu communities during the immersion of Lord Ganesha Murti on the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi. Around a dozen people were injured and a twenty-four-year-old Rupesh Yadav resident of Musaili Malangwa-7 was brutally stabbed multiple times with a dagger. According to his friend, he was attacked by a man from the Muslim community. Yadav is currently undergoing treatment in Nepal Mediciti Vayodha Hospital, Birgunj.



Nepal

Trouble began in the regional hub city of Nepalgunj over the weekend after a Hindu boy posted a status about Muslims on social media. Muslims protested the status inside the region’s main government administrator’s office building, burned tires on the streets and blocked traffic.

A larger Hindu rally was held Tuesday on which stones and bottles were thrown at protesters, resulting in a few minor injuries. The indefinite curfew was imposed since Tuesday afternoon in Nepalgunj, about 400 kilometers west of the capital, Kathmandu, directly after the Hindu protest came under attack. Area police chief Santosh Rathore said officers were patrolling the city and people were not allowed to leave their homes or gather in groups during the lockdown.

Nepal, which is a Hindu majority country that turned secular just a few years ago. Muslims make up roughly a third of Nepalgunj’s population.


Canada

At least six Hindu temples have been broken into in the province of Ontario since this September.

The Durham Police release had stated that in the early hours of October 8, there were reports of consecutive break-and-enters at three temples within its jurisdiction. These have been identified as the Devi Mandir in Pickering, Sankat Mochan Mandir in Ajax and the Hindu Mandir Durham in Oshawa. The Devi Mandir was spared from theft from the donation boxes as the priest living in the premises, Girish Khali, pulled the fire alarm which caused the suspect to flee.

The three temples in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are the Chintpurni Temple in Brampton, which was targeted on September 9, Rameshwar Mandir in Caledon, robbed on September 18 and the Hindu Heritage Centre in Mississauga, on October 4.

In a statement on Facebook on September 22, the Rameshwar Mandir management said, “An ongoing investigation by the police is under way to apprehend those responsible for this breach of security. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in their efforts to resolve this matter swiftly.” The statement added, “We would like to assure the public that we take this incident very seriously and will continue to prioritise the safety and well-being of our visitors, devotees and the security of our premises.”


Canada

A man has been arrested for vandalizing two large Hindu temples in Surrey. The suspect and his accomplices are accused of plastering the Hindu places of worship with yellow-red posters. The posters call for a separate Sikh homeland and declare that Indian diplomats in Canada are “wanted” for the June 18 “assassination” of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

These acts of intimidation at the Laxmi Narayan and Bhameshwari temples are only the latest strikes at more than a dozen Hindu sanctuaries across Canada. Indian consulates in Toronto and Vancouver have also been targeted. And in a recent video, the head of ‘Sikhs for Justice’, a group banned by India, angrily tells all Hindus to leave Canada.

The escalations are occurring despite neither religious group being at all monolithic. Indeed, over the decades there have been countless examples of harmonious Sikh-Hindu relations across Canada. And it must be noted that many Sikhs do not support activists’ aggressive, sometimes violent, push for an independent homeland in the Punjab called Khalistan.



India

Manjusar village in Savli taluka witnessed chaos on Thursday night after stones were pelted at the Ganesha Visarjan procession. Live videos of stone pelting from rooftops have come to light during this incident. The Manjusar police have registered a case against 18 individuals, along with 30 others, and are conducting further investigations into the incident.

Five individuals are in police custody in connection with the stone pelting incident, and a search for the others involved has been initiated.

According to the complaint filed by Girishbhai Chimanlal Panchal regarding this incident, he, along with about 100 other villagers, left Verai Mata Chowk in tractors to carry out Ganapati Visarjan. Everyone was walking together with Ganapati. Around six o’clock in the evening, stone pelting began on the Yatra when it reached Garasia Mohalla. As the complainant looked up, he saw Wasim Jayeshbhai Vaghela, Yasin Vaghela, Mohammed Vaghela, and others pelting stones from Chiman Vaghela’s house. Suddenly, stone pelting also started from Lala Raisang hotel owner’s house. The stones were thrown with the intention of causing harm to them. While throwing stones, these individuals were heard saying, ‘Attack them, don’t let them leave alive,’ the complaint said.

After the stone pelting, these people fled the scene, but later, Wasim returned with a knife to attack the people. Arjun Amri, Sandeep Gopal Chauhan, Jitendra Babul Panipuri, and Arvind Bansi Vanjar were injured during these clashes. This stone pelting led to a stampede. The police were immediately informed. As the stone-throwers belonged to another community, the police promptly arrived to prevent any escalation of tension.

In response to the stone pelting, the villagers performed a Ramdhun (a devotional song) near Manjusar Gram Panchayat and demanded strict action against the rioters.



India

Tensions erupted in Karnataka's Shivamogga on Sunday (October 01), following a procession taken out by members of the Muslim community carrying images of Tipu seen killing warriors dressed in saffron. A few pictures doing the rounds on social media also showed Aurangzeb being glorified for building a Muslim empire in India.

Stones were allegedly thrown at the procession resulting in stone pelting on nearby houses. Retired teachers who live in the locality said that they were lucky at the time because they were not home when the stone pelting took place. The elderly couple who taught at local schools for most of their lives in Shivamogga's Shantinagar broke down and said that it was heartbreaking for them to see their own students pelt stones at their homes — students whom the couple have taught for decades now.

"My wife advised me not to mention anything to the media or the leaders. She was scared. She learnt Urdu in order to teach Kannada to those students. All these boys have taken up arms today. It is heartbreaking to see our own students do this today. I hope they reconsider their decision and adopt normal life", the teacher said.

"My wife is 68 year-old and I'm 72. All we wanted in life is a home of our own. We could finally build this house after years of hard-work and saving up. We had no enemies. We never saw anyone through the lens of a religion. If we were home, I am not sure if we would be unharmed. I heard the slogans that were chanted. I am ashamed to even tell those slogans in front of you (the reporter)", the emotional teacher stated.

His wife taught at the local higher primary school for several years in Ragi Gudda. She taught Kannada to students for that she had to learn Urdu because the students only spoke Urdu at their homes.

Similarly, a video of a woman who was affected by the violence went viral on social media recently. In the video, she is seen to be asking if Hindus have no right to live here, and if women have no place in the society.



United States of America

It took a combined total of about 4.7 million hours of work by artisans and volunteers to hand-carve about 2 million cubic feet of stone. The four varieties of marble from Italy and limestone from Bulgaria traveled first to India and then over 8,000 miles across the world to New Jersey.

“Service and devotion are the two basic elements that form the subtle foundation of how a temple so majestic gets built here in central New Jersey,” said Trivedi, who studies the Swaminarayan faith tradition and follows it.

This temple will be the third Akshardham or “abode of the divine” the organization has built after two others in New Delhi and Gujarat, where BAPS is headquartered. The sect, which will celebrate its 50th year in North America next year, oversees more than 1,200 temples and 3,850 centers around the world.

Global Hindu Temple Network was represented at a large event of Puja and celebration on 30th September at the Mandir.


United States of America

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Saturday that would have made California the first U.S. state to outlaw caste-based discrimination. Earlier this year, Seattle became the first U.S. city to add caste to its anti-discrimination laws. On Sept. 28, Fresno became the second U.S. city and the first in California to prohibit discrimination based on caste by adding caste and indigeneity to its municipal code.

In his message Newsom called the bill “unnecessary,” explaining that California “already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, and state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed.”

“Because discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under these existing categories, this bill is unnecessary,” he said in the statement.

“With the stroke of his pen, Governor Newsom has averted a civil rights and constitutional disaster that would have put a target on hundreds of thousands of Californians simply because of their ethnicity or their religious identity, as well as create a slippery slope of facially discriminatory laws,” said Samir Kalra, the Hindu American Foundation's managing director.

In March, state Sen. Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan American elected to the California Legislature, introduced the bill. California law would have included caste as a sub-category under ethnicity — a protected category under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.




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