Hindus worldwide are highly concerned regarding reports of burglary at Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden in Greater London, resulting in the theft of three sacred Hari Krishna idols on November nine, hours after Hindu New Year celebrations.
According to Temple President Kurjibhai Kerai, these idols were with the temple since opening in 1975 and “hold a huge religious significance to all in our community”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was shocking for the worldwide Hindus to hear about such incidents happening to a Hindu house of worship, thus reportedly sending the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful area Hindu community in a state of anguish. British Hindus had made lot of contributions to the nation and society and continued to do so; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Zed urged Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London Sir Kenneth Olisa, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and London Borough of Brent Mayor Arshad Mahmood to take this issue seriously and urgently and launch swift action to solve this crime ensuring the safe return of these sacred idols to the Temple, and make sure that such incidents did not happen in the future. Community was reportedly eagerly waiting to have darshan of these sacred idols again.
Adequate security measures should be in place to protect the Hindu temples in United Kingdom; and Olisa, Khan and Mahmood should immediately visit the burglarized temple and meet the Hindu community in Willesden area to reassure them; Rajan Zed indicated.
Zed further said that as an interfaith gesture; Church of England Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols and area leaders of other religions should strongly condemn this act of burglary at a place of worship and also visit the affected temple to show their solidarity with the reportedly devastated Hindus.
This Temple, a registered charity and built on a former church building, is claimed to be “one of the biggest Hindu Temples in Europe”. “It continues to teach the core foundations of our religion; compassion, thirst for knowledge, morality, and respect for all human beings”. It opens daily and besides worship services; it also conducts yoga-tabla-vachanamrut classes, runs a Gujarati school and youth academy, helps the homeless, etc. It functions under Shree Nar Narayan Dev Temple Bhuj in Gujarat, India; whose Code of Conduct includes abstaining from alcohol, drugs, meat, adultery, stealing, food-drinks from improper sources.
Willesden is a suburb north west of London, which forms part of London Borough of Brent.