On February 5, Australian Hindus presented a list of demands to the Home Affairs Minister Clare O’ Neil who visited a Durga Temple in Melbourne ahead of the resumption of the Parliament. The demands were in the wake of attacks on Indians by pro-Khalistani elements with terror links in Melbourne. Other dignitaries accompanying the minister included the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs-Tim Watts and Labour Federal Member of the Parliament Peter Khalil. A list of demands was put forward to the minister by Australian Hindus who were attacked and assaulted by Khalistani groups that have terror links in the city of Melbourne. The list includes, Carrying and using weapons must be banned for Sikhs, deport every Nihang on a temporary visa, remove all Objectionable/Offensive posters from religious places and cars, speedy justice for all victims of the January 29, 2023 incident in a time-bound manner, security for all victims of the January 29, 2023 incident, de-radicalise Sikh religious places, regular updates on the above matters. At Durga Temple today, Victorian Hindus presented a List of Demands to Home Affairs Minister @ClareONeilMP in the wake of recent by attacks by Khalistanis with terror-links on Indians in Melbourne. The Australian Hindu Association awaits a prompt response from the Minister. pic.twitter.com/A4A2BJfvow — Australian Hindu Media (@austhindu) February 5, 2023 Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts and Labor Federal member for Wills Peter Khalil accompanied MP Clare to the temple. In an official statement, Watts said, “Before the resumption of Parliament Clare O’Neil, Peter Khalil and I visited Sri Durga Temple to meet with committee members and listen to their perspectives – it’s the biggest Hindu temple in Melbourne’s west.. and maybe Australia!” He added, “Our community is a place of incredible cultural and religious diversity. I’ve been privileged to visit Sri Durga many times over the years to celebrate festivals like Diwali and Holi which have become fixtures on Australia’s cultural calendar.” “The vandalism of places of worship we’ve seen in the last few weeks is completely unacceptable in our multicultural and multi-faith country. We fully support Victorian police’s investigation of these hateful acts,” he said. On January 29, 2023, social media platforms were flooded by several videos that showed Indian Australians under attack from Khalistani-affiliated men who carried swords and daggers (kirpan). They were associated with Khalistani Terror Outfit “Sikhs For Justice”. This organisation is banned in India and the group announced that a referendum will take place on January 29 at the Federation Square. The first violence committed by Khalistanis on Australian Hindus took place at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne on January 12, 2023. Slogans such as “Hindustan Murdabad” were painted and inscribed on the walls of the temple. On January 17, 2023, another Hindu temple in Carrum Downs in Melbourne faced a similar fate by Khalistani extremists. In Brampton, Canada, the Gauri Shankar Mandir was attacked by people affiliated with Khalistani terror outfits. The third incident took place in an ISKCON Temple on January 23, 2023, where a graffiti “Hindustan Murdabad” and “Khalistan Zindabad” was defaced on the walls of the temple in Alfred Park. Meanwhile, India on February 2 condemned violence by Khalistani extremists in Australia targeting the Indian community. “We strongly condemn such attacks by extremist elements and we urge local authorities to investigate and punish the perpetrators. We have been repeatedly taking up with the Australian authorities our concerns about actions by such elements, including those that are proscribed terrorist organizations,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said. “We have also conveyed our firm rejection of the so-called Khalistan referendum and the politically motivated exercises by extremist elements. We have requested Australia to ensure the safety and security of members of the Indian community and their properties,” he said. New Delhi is also firm that the authorities in Australia should not allow the “use of Australian territory for activities that would be detrimental to territorial integrity, security and national interest of India”. Arindam Bagchi also said India has asked the Australian authorities to take action against those who are extremists and undertaking activities of the so-called Khalistani referendum.
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