THE Swindon Equality Coalition expressed solidarity with the Hindu temple committee following the fifth break-in in five months.

A spokesman said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear that Swindon Hindu Temple has once more been the target of thieves and vandals.

"We stand with our friends in the Hindu community - our message is clear: Swindon will not accept this treatment of one of our important communities.

"The number of recent break-ins at the temple is as shocking as the current attack.

"Since the first incident in May, the temple has been without mains electricity, leaving CCTV, fire and intruder alarms as well as heating and emergency lighting out of action.

"Thieves came back less than a month later and stole the entire sub-station. Further attacks have seen doors and furniture destroyed, cash stolen and, last weekend, the holy altar ransacked with religious items either damaged or stolen.

"The significant damage caused during the break-ins has made the premises no longer fit for purpose until urgent repairs are completed.

"The fact that members of the Hindu community are now left with no other option but to sleep overnight at the temple to provide some basic security is an appalling reflection of the support that has been offered by Swindon’s local authorities.

In support of the Swindon Hindu community, we urge the council to arrange for the restoration of the full electricity supply without further delay.

"While the police are appealing for witnesses to the crime, we ask that all measures are taken to support the Hindu community to ensure the safety of the Temple and the people who use it.

"We invite the police and local authority to engage effectively with the Hindu community to find acceptable solutions for both the immediate situation as well as the long-term. An alternative safe and appropriate site is an urgent priority."

Swindon Equality Coalition chair Michelle Howard added “It is so upsetting that the Hindu community has been targeted in this way. We are working to make Swindon a beacon of inclusion and diversity, and we will not accept this kind of behaviour.

“We stand in solidarity with the Hindu community, and we urge our partners in the police, local authority and other agencies to act urgently to provide confidence and security to the Hindu community."

The Swindon Equality Coalition promotes and supports equality, diversity, and inclusion throughout the borough, highlighting positive change and good practice as well as questioning and challenging, to ensure Swindon becomes a beacon for equality of access and opportunity for all.

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