A prominent Hindu temple in Canada's Ontario province has been vandalised by unknown people with "anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti", in what is described by the police as a "hate-motivated incident."
In a statement, the police in Ontario's Windsor city said on Wednesday that it has launched an investigation into the incident and looking for two suspects.
The high commission of India in Ottawa, Canada, has strongly condemned the act of vandalism.
"We have taken up with the Canadian authorities the hateful act of putting anti India graffiti on the walls of BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Windsor. We strongly condemn this act of vandalism," the mission said in a tweet.
The Windsor police service said officers were dispatched to the Hindu temple in the 1700 block of the Northway Avenue following a report of hate-motivated vandalism on Wednesday.
"Officers discovered anti-Hindu and anti-India graffiti sprayed in black on an exterior wall of the building," the police said in a statement.
The Windsor police service was investigating vandalism at the temple "as a hate-motivated incident," the statement said.
Through investigation, officers obtained a video that shows two suspects in the area just after 12 am. In the video, one suspect appears to commit the vandalism on the wall of the building while the other keeps watch, it said.
At the time of the incident, one suspect wore a black sweater, black pants with a small white logo on the left leg, and black and white high-top running shoes.
The second suspect wore black pants, a sweatshirt black shoes, and white socks. The police asked residents in the immediate vicinity of the temple to check their home surveillance or dashcam video footage for evidence of the suspects.
In January, the Gauri Shankar temple in Brampton was targeted with anti-India graffiti, causing an outrage among the Indian community.
The Indian consulate general in Toronto had said the defacing of the temple had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Indian community in Canada.
At least three similar acts of vandalism have been recorded in Canada last year.
Last September, the ministry of external affairs issued a statement condemning the rise of hate crimes against Indians and anti-India activities in Canada, expressing their concern with stern language.
Statistics Canada reported a 72 per cent increase in hate crimes based on religion, sexual orientation, and race between 2019 and 2021.
This has led to increased fears among minority communities, particularly the Indian community, which is the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada, accounting for almost four per cent of the population.