The head of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) has accused the Opposition leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar of “downplaying” the seriousness of the recent attacks on temples.
In a release on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar said it is dangerous to T&T’s society’s peace and civil stability when intellectually lazy allegations of hate crimes and religious intolerance are thrown out without an iota of supporting evidence.
Persad-Bissessar conceded that crimes have been committed at some Hindu temples but said this did not necessarily mean they were due to religious hate.
However, SDMS secretary general Vijay Maharaj, in a statement of his own, said, “It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the vandalism of an effigy of Rawan at Tarouba Recreation Ground, or the intentional destruction of Hindu Murtis is evidence of a religious attack on the Hindu faith.”
Maharaj said, “No one is suggesting that acts of violence were only limited to places of Hindu worship, but as the president of the National Council of Indian Culture and independent Senator Deoroop Teemul said recently, ‘What we need to note is that to take alcohol and to take meat onto a temple deliberately, to desecrate a temple, it calls for really a high level of organisation and thinking from vagrants and mentally disturbed people. …We should not continue to be dismissive of it’.”
Maharaj said while accusing those who have condemned these attacks as “intellectually lazy”, Persad-Bissessar appeared unaware her own senator, Tim Gopeesingh, not only condemned these acts on Hindu temples but also chastised the entire PNM and a particular PNM senator for not doing the same.
The SDMS head said instead of joining national condemnation of the acts of desecration, Persad-Bissessar was now condemning those who condemned “these heinous acts”.
“It is truly a disgusting slap in the face of all Hindus across T&T,” the SDMS said
He said he felt Persad-Bissessar’s statement was despicable and “reminiscent of the attack on a Hindu pundit at a UNC meeting for which Kamla Persad-Bissessar is still to condemn”.
“It’s clear Kamla Persad-Bissessar is only interested in getting Hindu votes but has little concern for the rights of Hindus to practice their religion with safety and dignity,” Maharaj said.