The Swaminarayan Mandir Vasana Sanstha Mandir, a Hindu temple in Newark, California, United States, was recently desecrated with “pro-Khalistan” and “anti-Modi” graffiti.

The incident comes weeks after the Financial Times reported that the United States had foiled a plot to assassinate Khalistan supporter Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil and issued a warning to India over concerns that the Modi government was involved in the conspiracy.

Pannun, an American and Canadian citizen, is the founder of an organisation called Sikhs for Justice. The organisation advocates for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs.

The Hindu American Foundation, an American Hindu non-profit group with ties to the Hindu nationalist organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad, posted photographs of the graffiti on X on Saturday.

“The mention of the Khalistan terrorist kingpin [Jarnail Singh] Bhindranwale who targeted Hindus for murder, is specifically meant to traumatize temple goers and create a fear of violence – meeting the California definition of a hate crime,” the group wrote in another post on X.

On the incident, Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said that Indian Consulate in San Francisco has complained and an inquiry is underway, reported The Indian Express. “Extremists, separatists and such forces should not be given space,” he added.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco condemned the incident in a post on X.

The Newark Police Department said that the the defacement seems to be a targeted act and that it was is being investigated as a possible hate crime,