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Man charged for destroying Gandhi statue at NYC Hindu temple

A Queens man was arrested and charged with a hate crime over the weekend for allegedly destroying a statue of Mahatma Gandhi outdoors a Hindu temple in South Richmond Hill final month.

Sukhpal Singh, 27, was charged with prison mischief as a hate crime for allegedly smashing the statue in entrance of the Tulsi Mandir Temple on Aug. 16, the Queens district lawyer introduced Monday.

Singh and 4 others — who haven’t but been apprehended — allegedly took a sledgehammer to the life-size Gandhi statue and broke it to items within the early morning destruction.

The suspects reportedly spray-painted “kutta,” the Hindi phrase for canine on the shattered statue and graffitied the phrases “Grandpi” and “canine” on a street and pathway outdoors the 111th Avenue temple.

The pack of vandals destroyed the statue simply two weeks after the effigy was toppled over in one other act of vandalism — although it’s unclear if the circumstances are linked.

Toppled, graffitied and smashed statue of Gandhi
One among 5 males who allegedly smashed a statue of Gandhi outdoors a Hindu temple in Queens final month was arrested over the weekend.
COPCP2020/Twitter

“As alleged, the defendant, together with a number of unapprehended others, dedicated a disgraceful act of violence towards a Mahatma Gandhi statue that has develop into a common image of peace, unity and inclusivity,” Queens District Lawyer Melinda Katz stated in an announcement. “Hate and bias-motivated assaults haven’t any place in our communities and my Workplace will maintain such perpetrators accountable.”

Singh, of Little Neck Highway, offered one of many getaway automobiles caught on surveillance footage, in response to the Queens district lawyer’s workplace.

The footage captured the 5 males toppling the statue, hanging it repeatedly with the sledgehammer, spray-painting it and working in direction of Liberty Avenue. Among the males hopped right into a black Toyota Camry and a few jumped right into a Mercedes Benz C-Class automobile, the video exhibits.

The words "Grandpi dog" is spray-painted in black on a roadway.
Sukhpal Singh, 27, was charged with prison mischief as a hate crime and faces as much as 15 years in jail.
COPCP2020/Twitter

Investigators have been in a position to pull the plate variety of the Mercedes Benz from the video and discovered it was registered to Singh, the Queens district lawyer stated.

Singh was arraigned Sunday in Queens Legal Court docket on one rely of prison mischief as a hate crime, one other rely of prison mischief and one rely of aggravated harassment.

He faces as much as 15 years in jail if convicted.

The act of vandalism shook the Hindu neighborhood in South Richmond Hill.

“To know that Gandhi represents peace and anyone would come and simply goal the statue and vandalize it, it’s very unhappy,” the temple’s founder, Pandit Maharaj, told the Queens Courier on the time of the incident.

Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar — who represents the realm and is the primary Hindu-American elected official in New York State — stated hate and bias incidents towards the native Hindu neighborhood are on the rise.

In July, Rutgers University released a report that discovered “proof of a pointy rise and evolving patterns of hate speech directed towards the Hindu neighborhood throughout quite a few social media platforms.”

In a statement Monday, Rajkumar thanked Katz and the NYPD for the arrest and known as on the alleged vandals to teach themselves.

“Immediately, I don’t name for harsh punishment towards the perpetrator apprehended, for Gandhi himself believed that an eye fixed for an eye fixed makes the entire world blind,” she stated. “In step with that spirit, I name for all these concerned on this act of hate to teach themselves concerning the mutual respect and inclusivity taught by Gandhi, and undertake love of their hearts in direction of all.”

She added that the Hindu neighborhood is “able to embrace the suspects with open arms.”

“I invite the perpetrators to drop the sledgehammer and be part of us in the reason for peace,” Rajkumar stated.

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