22 Dec 2017

Vandalism at Fiji's Tirath Dham temple condemned

7:33 pm on 22 December 2017

In Fiji, the Citizens' Constitutional Forum has condemned what it calls an act of sacrilege at Nadi's Tirath Dham temple.

Hindu Indian wedding ceremony in a temple.

Hindu Indian wedding ceremony in a temple. Photo: suhaimihassan/123RF

The chief executive officer of the CCF, Bulutani Mataitawakilai says the image of graffiti and racial slurs on the Hindu temple was a disturbing affront to Fiji's multi-ethnic society.

Police were investigating the vandalism, which was the third instance in recent times that the temple had been broken into.

Local media reported that the perpetrators stole a number of items from the temple in addition to pouring paint on the temple's religious monuments and leaving graffiti.

Mr Mataitawakilai described it as a cowardly act, but said he was encouraged both by the police response and the condemnation of the vandalism on social media.

He said that despite years of awareness and education on multi-culturalism in Fiji, it's extremely disappointing that such actions still take place.

An aerial view of the northern Nadi suburbs in Fiji

An aerial view of the northern Nadi suburbs in Fiji Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

The CCF last year commissioned a research project - Racism, Hate Crimes and Sacrilege - which found that practices of religious intolerance were still occurring.

Mr Mataitawakilai has urged all Fijians to strongly reject all forms of sacrilege and cultural vandalism, and to respect all places of worship.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs