- On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams spoke out against anti-Hindu hate crimes after the Shri Tulsi Mandir’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized twice.
- Mayor Adams joined State Assemblyperson Jenifer Rajkumar, local elected officials and interfaith leaders at the mandiri in South Richmond Hill.
- The first destruction of the Gandhi statue occurred on Aug. 3 when a group of three individuals toppled it over, and the second incident occurred two weeks later with a group of six men.
- The New York City Police Department 106th Precinct released CCTV footage of five male suspects following the second vandalization.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams condemned hate crimes against the Hindu community at a rally on Wednesday after two local Gandhi statues were vandalized within two weeks of each other.
At the Shri Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill in Queens, New York, Mayor Adams joined State Assemblyperson Jenifer Rajkumar, local elected officials and interfaith leaders to address anti-Hindu hate crimes.
New Yorkers stand united. No matter our background, our zip code, class, race or creed, we reject hate. Join us now in Richmond Hill. https://t.co/lZ5VBoSBXm
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) August 24, 2022
“Hate has no place in Richmond Hill. Hate has no place in New York City. Hate has no place in our country,” Adams said. “We are not going to stand back and allow attacks on our houses of worship. They play a crucial role in closing the gap between government and the needs of people. We will not allow an individual to participate in this hate going unapprehended.”
On Aug. 3, a group of three individuals destroyed the mandir’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi by toppling it over. The second vandalization occurred less than two weeks later when a different group of six unidentified men destroyed the statue with a sledgehammer and spray-painted offensive remarks on the statue, temple grounds and street.
The New York City Police Department 106th Precinct released CCTV footage of the suspected six males from the second attack.
Commanding Officer Andrew Arias of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force stated that the investigation is ongoing and investigators are working with public and private partners to achieve justice.
“The NYPD is here to say that we will never tolerate hate or violence of any kind here in New York City,” Arias said. “The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, with its cadre of seasoned investigators, is analyzing all of the evidence, developing probative leads and utilizing technology to steer the investigation to successful closure.”
The founder of the Shri Tulsi Mandir, Pandit Lakhram Maharaj, expressed gratitude to the community for their support after the statues’ desecrations.
“Our skin color might be different, but the blood that runs through our veins is the same,” Maharaj said. “Our religion may be different, but we are worshiping the same God. Hate does not have any role in this community, and in this country. Mahatma Gandhi teaches us that if you want to have change within this universe, you should be the change that you want to see onto everyone.”
Local elected officials including City Councilmember Joann Ariola and Assemblymembers David Weprin and Khaleel Anderson also delivered their comments, criticizing the hate crimes.
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