Indo-Fijian Pastor Rajesh Goundar of El-Shaddai Assemblies of God Church in Lautoka is seeking forgiveness for his actions in demolishing a Hindu God’s idol from a home.
A video of this incident has gone viral in Fiji where some people can be clearly seen breaking and removing the idol of ‘Bhagwan Hanuman.’
Pastor Goundar told Fijivillage the owner of the house, a new convert to Christianity, gave him the consent to demolish the Hindu idol.
He added that the Hindu woman was sick for a while and she asked him to pray for her.
The President of the Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, Sarju Prasad has condemned the act labelling it as “shameful and intolerable.”
He further adds that if the Hindu idol was not acceptable to the owners of the property, they should have not destroyed or caused it to be destroyed.
Prasad told FBC News:
“Even if such an act was committed by a person in a private property and authorised by that person (by whom the deity was installed) – I would have thought that that person would have asked a person of Sanatan faith or those who are devotees of Hanuman ji to take that deity away and install in somewhere else. But to do such a shameful act is beyond tolerance.”
Speaking to FBC News, the owner of the house in Lautoka, Veena Wati, claimed that proper rituals were followed before they decided to remove the idol.
“I had prayed over the idol before following the proper procedures of releasing it. However, prior to that, we tried to remove it but the foundation of the statue was so strong that we had to break it.”
Hindu leaders have requested the Fijian government and other religious leaders to take this act as an attack on humanity.
Ashwin Raj, the Director of the Fijian Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, has urged all religious leaders to foster respect and tolerance.
The Fiji Police Force has told local media that they have yet not received any official complaints on the matter of demolishing of Bhagwan Hanuman idol.
By the constitution, Fiji is a secular state and everyone has the freedom to follow and practice their own religion.
Hindus first arrived in Fiji as indentured labourers in 1879.
After a period of persistent coups and persecution, which included burning of Hindu homes and arson of temples, Fiji witnessed a wave of emigration of Hindus to countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
According to the census, at present, most Indian Fijians, who account for 37 per cent of the total population, are Hindu, while an estimated 20 per cent are Muslim and 6 per cent Christian.