Toronto: A Hindu temple in Canada has been vandalised by two men armed with baseball bats, outraging the country`s minority community which termed it as a "hate crime".
Video recordings show the men smashed three windows at the front entrance of the Laxmi Narayan Temple on June 23 in Surrey, British Columbia.
"They left after breaking the windows and leaving those bats, which is self-explanatory," a temple official was quoted as saying by local media.
"When I came to know those facts I felt it`s not a regular break-in where somebody wants to damage, it`s a hate crime, which is unfortunate and disturbing," said Parshotam Goel, President of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society.
Vinay Sharma, secretary for the society, said, "I was shocked. There was no robbery, there was no other damage, nobody tried to enter the building."
"Nobody has an idea that this kind of attack, or this kind or racism attack or hatred crime can happen here," he said.
Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who are probing the incident, said they don`t consider it as a hate crime.
"A place of worship is one more place that people hold sacred. It`s a very personal attack," said Surrey RCMP spokesman Dale Carr was quoted as saying by `CTV British Columbia`.
According to reports, a bat with a `Sikh last name` and a `khanda` was recovered from the scene.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada President Prem Singh Vinning, who visited the temple, has condemned the attack on the Temple.
"Any attack on a place of worship must be strongly condemned. The perpetrators must be brought to justice as soon as possible. While we truly hope that this was not an attempt to create friction between the Sikh and Hindu community, the responsible thing to do is to let the RCMP complete its investigation before drawing any conclusions," Vinning said.
Meanwhile, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney has condemned the attack.
Kenney said it was particularly disgusting that the incident happened on the anniversary of the Air India bombing, where 329 people, mostly Canadians, were killed.
"The act of vandalism that took place against the Vedic Hindu Temple on June 23 vandals smashed three windows near the temple`s entrance overnight, is contrary to Canadian values and repugnant to our tradition of religious tolerance, which dates back centuries and is one of our greatest strengths," Kenney said in a statement.
"I encourage each and every Canadian to categorically reject such cowardly acts of bigotry, and I ask that anyone with information please contact the appropriate authorities so the perpetrators can be brought to justice as swiftly as possible," the minister said.