Sacrilege probe pending

A police investigation remained pending at year’s end into the alleged incident of criminal sacrilege where a pastor was caught on camera demolishing a statue of a Hindu god in Lautoka.

This is stated in the International Religious Freedom Report for 2021 released by the United States Department of State.

The report states on September 29, police investigated an alleged incident of criminal sacrilege involving the pastor who was recorded on video demolishing a statue of a Hindu god at a house in Wairabetia, Lautoka.

“Hindus in the country, including politicians and those from religious organisations such as the Sanatam Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha who viewed the widely circulated video on social media, condemned the incident as an “act of sacrilege”, stated the report.

“Veena Wati, the owner of the home where the alleged desecration occurred, later explained in local media that she had consented to the removal of the statue from her family’s property.

“The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission received at least three complaints regarding the incident and said it would investigate the issue and called for religious leaders in the country to promote religious tolerance and respect.

“A police investigation remained pending at year’s end.”

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