New York, Aug 19: A statue of Mahatma Gandhi near a temple in New York was vandalised in the second attack on the memorial this month, and a local volunteer watch group has begun work to protect it.
The incident happened early Tuesday, the latest in a series of attacks on Gandhi statues in the US.
According to media reports, six people smashed the idol of Sri Tulsi temple by hitting it with a sledgehammer. Drawing hateful words around it and on the streets.
According to the Queen’s Daily Eagle, the statue was vandalized earlier on August 3.
Photo of statue breaking on Twitter
Police released a video of men aged 25-30 who they suspect were involved in the attack.
Police said they arrived in a white Mercedes Benz and a dark-colored car and fled the scene, believed to be a Toyota Camry.
Jennifer Rajkumar, the first Hindu assembly member elected to the New York state legislature, said “When the Gandhi statue was vandalized, that moment really flew in the face of all our beliefs and it was very embarrassing for the community.”
Pandit Maharaj, founder of the temple, told the New York Post, “Gandhi represents peace and someone else will come and just vandalize the statue, it’s very sad”.
Meanwhile, the volunteer watch group, Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol, said in a tweet on Thursday that its members have strengthened their presence around the temple.
“We have increased our presence at Tulsi Mandir and (the police) are happy to see 106 Precinct there as well.
After the first attack, Prince gathered House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and several elected officials to condemn the attack and demand police action.
“Heinous acts have no place in our community and nation and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” Meeks said, as quoted by the Daily Eagle.
The temple is located in South Richmond Park, an area of Indian origin.
A combination of leftists and Khalistanis have targeted Gandhi statues across the United States, sometimes circulating petitions to remove them, such as another statue in New York City that was vandalized with a shroud and damaged.
In February 2020, protests against police excesses erupted, including a gruesome personal attack on a statue of Gandhi in Washington and anti-India slogans painted on it.
It was vandalized again in December of that year by pro-Khalistani during a protest in support of the Peasant Movement in India.
In another incident, Gandhi’s head was cut in half in Davis, California in January last year.
In June 2020, the same statue was also vandalized with slogans.
Speaking to the New York Post, Rajkumar specified that “Hindu hatred is on the rise”.
A recent report by Rutgers University’s Network Contagion Lab said it has seen an increase in hate speech directed at the Hindu community and blamed white supremacists for it.
However, in the video released by the police, the suspects are believed to be white.
Moreover, Maharaj told local news outlet QNS: “The first time it happened it was speaking in Spanish. This time it was speaking in Hindi.”
Rajkumar told QNS: “I have spoken to government leaders across the country. All are committed to redouble efforts aimed at combating anti-Hindu hatred.”