The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) and the MP for Pointe-a-Pierre, David Lee have both condemned the recent act of desecration at the Ramleela Celebration Grounds in Tarouba Road, Marabella.
In a statement the SDMS said: “Such incidents, which undermine the sanctity of our religious and cultural practices, are deeply distressing and unacceptable.”
It said the Ramleela is a sacred event in Hinduism, signifying the triumph of good over evil, and should be respected as such.
“We are deeply saddened by the act of burning the effigy of Ravana, which is an integral part of the culmination of our Ramleela celebrations. We express our solidarity with the Tarouba Ramleela and Phagwa Committee, and we offer our support to the affected community during this trying time,” the organisation stated.
The SDMS said in light of this incident, it has urged the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to consider enhancing security measures and increasing police presence at places of worship and religious festivals, including the ongoing Ramleela celebrations and upcoming Diwali celebrations.
“Safety and security are paramount in ensuring that all individuals can practice their faith without fear or intimidation. Religious and cultural diversity is a cornerstone of Trinidad and Tobago, and it is imperative that all religious and cultural events are respected and protected,” it said.
The Hindu body also noted that acts of vandalism and disrespect towards cultural and religious events “not only hurt the affected communities but also harm the rich tapestry of our nation”.
Meanwhile, Lee said as the MP, he’s deeply saddened and angered because each year these Ramleela Celebrations form an integral part of this community’s activities.
“Ramleela Celebrations in Tarouba are part of this community’s DNA as residents invest time, resources and pure dedication to preserve their religious heritage as well as their cultural identity.”
He added: “This is not simply an attack on those who observe these sacred celebrations but it is an attack on the entire Tarouba Community who have united each year to execute one of the most beautiful Ramleela Celebrations throughout Trinidad and Tobago.”
“I am calling on the authorities to ensure justice by taking action against those responsible.
I ask that all communities and groups join with the people of Tarouba to rebuke such hateful actions which have no place in our multicultural society.”
MP Lee said the people of Tarouba are dynamic and strong. “I have all confidence that they will overcome this, they will utilise the strength of their faith and they will continue to undertake some of the best Ramleela Celebrations in our nation.