20 Sep 2006

Fiji Hindus hire guards to protect temples

8:45 am on 20 September 2006

Followers of the Hindu religion in Fiji have decided to pay for security to protect their temples in the face of an increasing number of attacks.

The Fiji Sun reports that three attacks on temples in five days led to an emergency meeting of the Hindu religious organisation, the Sanatan Dharam.

The meeting discussed security for their temples after Senior Superintendent Jahir Khan said they should provide their own security because police could not be at every place of worship 24 hours a day.

The Howell Road Temple in Suva has hired a security guard by day and engaged a security company to provide protection by night.

Its priest, Chandar Shekar, is quoted as saying, "It is a disgrace that the creator of the world is under threat by the people he created."

The national president of the Sanatan Dharam, Surendra Kmar, says the authorities must come down hard on people who are disturbing the peace and harmonious relations.

Police statistics reveal that there have been more than 117 attacks on temples since 2003 with the numbers rising recently.