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Hindu temple burned down

Hindu temple burned down

Author: Samantha Matai
Publication: Fiji Sun
Date: October 27, 2003

Diwali celebrations took an ugly twist when a temple in Raralevu, Nausori, was burnt to the ground on Saturday night.

Hindu residents who were celebrating Diwali in their homes broke down in tears when they heard that the Naga Baba Kutti temple had been razed in a fire.

Police have confirmed the reports of the fire but were unable to give details of the incident.

Ragho Nand, a member of the Tailevu Rewa Indian Communal seat for the Fiji Labour Party believes the case is one of arson.

"People are very sad especially since Saturday was supposed to be a day of rejoicing but instead, it became one of the worst days for us," said Mr Nand.

He said the temple and all the equipment inside was destroyed except for a shed that was saved by neighbours.

"The temple was of significance to us because it was established in 1905 by Naga Baba, a priest who came all the way from India."

Mr Nand said the damage was estimated to be around $20,000.

"Fiji is a multi-racial nation and people should learn to respect each other's religion and culture regardless of what race we belong to.

"This teaching should be included in all education curriculums so that future citizens do not discriminate other religions or races," said Mr Nand.

Early last month a temple at Korociriciri in Nausori was also destroyed in a fire and is still being reconstructed by residents who use it for worship purposes.

The Naga Baba Kutti temple is only a few metres away from the Raralevu Police Post but despite this, police were unable to determine who set the temple on fire.

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