In the last eight months, there have been five incidents of Hindu temple vandalism across Australia and yet no arrests have been made so far in any case.
In addition, the Victoria Police is yet to catch all the perpetrators related to the brutal attack on peaceful protestors by Khalistan supporters in Federation Square, Melbourne, earlier this year. These attacks, in fact, happened in front of the police officers and were caught on camera by multiple spectators and CCTVs.
Warning: Disturbing visuals of vicious attack by Khalistan supporters in Federation Square Melbourne
These incidents and the seeming lack of solid response by both the Queensland and Victorian authorities had already put the Indian diaspora, particularly the Hindus in severe distress.
However, a recent police report by the Queensland Police into the Hindu temple vandalism attack in Brisbane on 4 March 2023 has further exacerbated this distress.
The Queensland Police has confirmed to The Australia Today that with regards to their inquiry into the Hindu temple vandalism in Brisbane, at present
“after exhausting several lines of enquiry, officers have filed this matter pending any further information.”
This means that the Queensland Police have so far not been able to find out who was behind the temple attack and will resume the investigation if or when they get further information.
The matter of the police investigation was recently brought to light after an Indian media outlet published a highly defamatory article claiming that the Queensland police saw a ‘Hindu hand’ in the Brisbane temple vandalism.
A spokesperson with Queensland Police said, “Police media does not provide identifying information such as religious affiliations/names etc.”
“I’m unsure where Times of India has obtained their information, I have no record of Police Media providing information to this outlet.”
The Australia Today can confirm that,
“The report does not say that the police saw a ‘Hindu hand’. In fact, what the report does suggest though is that the police did consider this possibility but found no evidence for the same.”
The investigation report has the following two entries on 6 March 2023:
“Intel officers also believe that the graffiti may have been done by the Hindus themselves in order to generate police attention towards the SFJ group.” – from page 1 of the report
“…advised that there were no known suspects from this offence, but suspected there might be Sikh involvement and it could be a result of the referendum in India relating to the formation of a Punjab (SIKH) state” – page 5 of the report
Another entry on 7 March 2023 says:
“A review of similar offences that occurred in Victoria revealed that some of the letters have similarities in the manner in which they were written. (Possibility that it is the same offender who may have come from Victoria and attended the Sikh rally in Brisbane on 04/03/2023)” – page 6 of the report.
Entry from 24 April 2023 observes:
“Please file this matter pending further investigation” – page 7
Hence it is clear that the police pursued several lines of inquiry but at this stage have no suspects and no idea who was behind the temple attack.
The report, released through an RTI application, has several redactions, implying that the police had discretion in what information they wanted to release. It also suggests that so far the police have found no evidence for their theories.
However, the nature of the comments in this report has caused distress and anxiety in the Indian diaspora and The Australia Today reached out to the Queensland Police for further clarification.
Community members told The Australia Today that rather than speaking about individuals, the Queensland Police is using terms like ‘Hindus’ and ‘Sikhs’ which is extremely disturbing.
They also feel that another troubling matter is that the police don’t seem to be making any distinction between Sikhs and Khalistanis.
Further, the Queensland Police said they have not been able to find the source of the video of temple vandalism which was allegedly put on various social media accounts by pro-Khalistan handles.
Given these concerns of the Indian-Australian community, The Australia Today reached out to the Queensland Police and received the response below, posted here for transparency.
Our enquiry and Queensland Police response
Our follow-up email
“Thanks for your email.
The Hindu community is feeling vilified, targeted and in distress given the content of your released report. It is also a matter of concern that according to the report the police has no further leads in the case and has also not been able to find the source of the video that was provided to the police that was shared across social media.
Given the serious ramifications we would like Queensland police to provide evidence for its insinuations or issue a clarification. Your statements are akin to saying Jews may have drawn the Nazi symbols themselves or Muslims may have attacked the Mosque themselves! I hope the police understands the seriousness of this situation for Australian Hindus.
Given that the vandalisation of the Hindu temple in Brisbane was not an isolated attack, that the attackers in Melbourne rally were caught on camera and that Khalistani supporters have released several videos claiming temple attacks across Australia, Hindus feel they are being unfairly vilified and are being further victimised after already being victims of hate crimes against them.
We are hoping the Queensland Police will provide us with a more direct statement to address the concerns of the Hindu community at the earliest.
Your response also seems to suggest that the police is not making a distinction between Sikhs and Khalistanis. Given the history of Khalistan terrorism including the worst aviation terror attack before 9/11 (Air India Kanishka bombing) which killed 329 people including 268 Canadian citizens, this is a matter of serious concern and we would like the police to issue a clarification on this as well.
We sincerely hope that you will give us a statement by today’s COB before we publish our report.
Look forward to your reply.”
Queensland police response
“Please see the statement attached – we are unable to provide further comment.”
The attached statement is the same statement as the previous one.
Given that the Queensland police did not provide a response to any of the questions that we have raised regarding the report, we reached out to the Commissioner of Queensland Police Service, Katarina Carroll, Minister for Police Mark Ryan as well as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
In a written response to The Australia Today a spokesperson for the Police Minister said,
“The Palaszczuk Government condemns religious vilification of all kinds.
People from all backgrounds, religions and beliefs should feel safe to visit the state, and to call Queensland home.
The Queensland Police Service, Multicultural Affairs Queensland, and other government agencies continue to work together to maintain cultural harmony in Queensland.
Any questions relating to the investigation itself are a matter for the Queensland Police Service.”
The response from Commissioner of Queensland Police Service Katarina Carroll’s office was,
“All media requests and requests for comment should be sent to Police Media”
We are still awaiting a reply from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The Khalistan supporters here have openly threatened Indian diplomats, incited hatred against Hindus and allegedly released videos of temple vandalism (evidence of all of which has been provided to the police). In these circumstances, the Queensland police report has come as a shock to the diaspora.
Khalistan terrorism was responsible for the worst aviation terror attack before 9/11. It was also responsible for the assassination of India’s former PM Indira Gandhi and Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh who was a Sikh himself and both of whom belonged to the Congress party which is in opposition now.
However, the discourse in Australia seems to be associating this extremist movement with the current government in India. This fake and false narrative in turn is being weaponised against the Indian diaspora by suggesting that this is an intra-diaspora issue between Hindus and Sikhs. This police report indicates that this extremely disturbing and damaging fake narrative has been considered by at least some quarters here.
The Indian diaspora in Australia includes people of all faiths coming from all corners of India who stand together. There are victims of Khalistan terrorism (Hindus and Sikhs) who reside in Australia and are in anguish at the turn of events.
*The redaction in the Queensland Police response is due to reasons of privacy
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