Burglars ransacked and desecrated a Hindu temple in Carapo, cooking corned beef in one of the pots used to make parsad, a traditional sweet made for religious ceremonies.
Members of the Carapo Shiv Mandir said they found their place of worship vandalized on Friday evening and again on Saturday morning.
Vice President Hansraj Ramdhanie said members went to the temple around 7 p.m. Friday to prepare for Mother’s Day celebrations scheduled for Saturday, but instead found the place in ruins.
He said fortunately that their murtis were not destroyed but jewelry on the murtis, gas tanks, ring stoves and other items were stolen, while the temple pantry, light fixtures , the plumbing system and the doors were destroyed.
Ramdhanie said the burglars cooked beef in one of the pots used to make parsad.
“We noticed that the door was broken. When we went to the kitchen and dining room, we found the fridges open and everything in the pantry was scattered around.
“We found open boxes of corned beef and bread. Beef is generally prohibited in the Hindu religion, it is a lack of respect for the faith.
Ramdhanie said the police have been called and the matter is being investigated.
He said when they returned Saturday morning to clean up, they found even more destruction and theft.
“The police came and took the necessary fingerprints… the attacker came back and stole the microwave, took five gas canisters and a kettle.
“They disconnected the water pump but left it behind, so we removed it from the complex. The air conditioning units were tampered with.
Ramdhanie said that due to the incident, the planned Mother’s Day celebration was canceled and the temple will remain closed until further notice.
He said while the damage was estimated at around $10,000, it would cost around $60,000 to install additional protection.
“We’re just picking up the pieces now and moving forward. We are very disturbed and believe this could be a hate crime.”
The temple, Ramdhanie said, has a capacity of 100 to 150 people from Carapo, Arima and surrounding areas.