January 27, 2012
Magh Shukla Chaturthi, Kaliyug Varsha 5113
O Hindus, now you only raise a voice against this !
The chariot was destroyed outside the Tooting temple
The founder of a Hindu temple in Tooting is “losing confidence” in the police who have failed to identify the arsonists who set fire to its £100,000 sacred chariot in November.
Nagendram Seevaratnam, 74, founder and spiritual leader of the temple, believes the attack was a terrorist attack which might have been aimed at him.
Detectives have admitted they have CCTV images from the November 16 attack, when a number of youths are believed to have set the chariot alight at the rear entrance of the Sivayogam London Muthumari Amman Kovil Temple, in Hebdon Road.
But more than two months later they are seemingly no closer to finding the culprits. The Wandsworth Guardian asked for CCTV images so readers could help identify the culprits but was told they were too poor quality to release.
It was told that the footage showed that the clothes of one of the arsonists caught fire in the attack but despite repeated requests police have not said on what part of the body they were burnt which might help identify one of them.
Mr Seevaratnam claimed police had not kept the temple informed about the progress of the investigation and criticised them for not doing more to catch those responsible.
He said: “We are surprised, we are losing confidence and looking for confidence in the police.
“There is so much CCTV all over the place, for them to say there is not a single clue as to who it is – it is a surprise.”
Mr Seevaratnam believes the fire could be linked to another incident earlier in July last year when three men broke into the temple, where he sometimes resides.
He said: “That night they did not take anything. They went and came back again, it seemed they were looking for something – looking for a passage to come back into.
“The police have not made it easy, this is not just an arson, it is a terrorist attack.”
Police issued a short statement saying: “The temple is being kept updated with the investigation.
“CCTV of the incident and the surrounding area are still being investigated – no arrests have been made.”
The destroyed chariot was used on August bank holiday Monday as part of a Hindu chariot festival.
It symbolises a vehicle used by Hindu god Lord Krishna in the scripture Mahabharata and is used to parade deities from the temple through the streets of Tooting and Mitcham.
Anyone who has information about the incident can call the Investigation Team on 020 8247 8482, or alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.