Vandals broke into and destroyed an Indian restaurant, leaving racist and xenophobic messages all over the walls in a hate crime attack in New Mexico.
The incident: Baljit Singh, the owner of the Indian Palace restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was horrified when he came into his store in the afternoon of June 22 only to see it completely destroyed.
- Many items were beyond repair, including glassware, tables, food warmers, the front desk, the kitchen and a statue of a goddess that was beheaded, according to SF Reporter. The attackers also got away with wine bottles and computers.
- Included in the stolen items and damaged goods were care packages the Singh family and Cameron Brown, an assistant at the restaurant and friend of the family, had been donating weekly to the homeless near the restaurant.
- “We do a bag full of food and hygiene products,” Singh’s son Baljot told SF Reporter. “We throw in some cash … $5, $10.”
- The attackers also left several political, racist, xenophobic and White supremacist messages on the walls, including “White power,” “Trump 2020,” “go home,” “I hate sand n****rs,” to name a few.
- The total cost of the damage is reportedly over $100,000. Singh said he never expected a crime like this to happen in the community that he has served since 2013.
- “I’ve never seen this before, this is the first time. I have security and everything, you know?” he said referring to the security that the landlord contracted.
- After seeing what happened, the family called Santa Fe Police at 12:58 p.m., but the authorities arrived almost three hours after making the call.
- Motives behind the attack as well as the identities of the person/people involved remain unknown.
What’s being done to help the family: Multiple GoFundMe accounts have been set up to help the Singh family with damage costs.
- Even though Nellie Tischler, owner of Indian restaurant Paper Dosa, doesn’t know the Singh family personally, she created a campaign that raised over $56,000 in just 10 hours, India-West reported.
- Another campaign, started by Molly Dietze Kennedy and Brown, is still active and has already raised $31,000, more than its $5,000 goal.
- Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber called the attack “sickening and appalling” and vowed to “find whoever did it and punish them to the full extent of the law” in a statement on June 23.
- “The Singhs are a long-standing Sikh family that has used its own resources to feed homeless Santa Feans through the goodness of their hearts. For them to be attacked this way breaks our hearts. We absolutely reject racism, intolerance, and hate,” he added.
- “I am absolutely heartbroken and disgusted by this racist attack. We will not stand for such hatred in New Mexico,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said.
- Many organizations and their leaders condemned the attack, including executive director of Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Kiran Kaur Gill, who said the group will work with the police “to ensure they thoroughly investigate this crime, and that the perpetrators of this hate crime are found and prosecuted under the appropriate hate/bias motivated statutes.”
- “We expect New Mexico’s elected officials, business owners, and faith leaders to join the Sikh community in unequivocally condemning this act of white supremacist hate,” Sim J. Singh, senior manager of policy and advocacy from the Sikh Coalition, said. “These racist acts are meant to divide us, but we are strongest when we stand together.”
- “This disturbing hate attack once again demonstrates that growing white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism target every minority community and must be challenged by people of all races, faiths and backgrounds,” Council on American-Islamic Relations National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said. “We call on President Trump, whose name was used by the hate vandals, to stop promoting bigotry and division and instead seek to bring our nation together at this time of crisis.”