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‘Increased collective anxiety among Hindu Americans’: 5 Indian-origin US lawmakers write to Justice Department over attacks on Hindu Mandirs

The letter was written by House Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi and signed by four other Indian-origin Congress members namely Shri Thanedar, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Ami Bera.

On Friday (29th March), five Indian-origin lawmakers in the United States wrote to the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice, seeking status information on the investigation into attacks on Hindu temples in the country.

The letter was written by House Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi and signed by four other Indian-origin Congress members namely Shri Thanedar, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Ami Bera.

The Hindu advocacy group ‘Hindu American Foundation (HAF)’ shared a copy of the letter on social media. “We have observed an alarming increase in incidents of vandalism at houses of worship across the country including at Hindu mandirs (“temples”),” the letter read.

“We, the undersigned Members of Congress of South Asian descent, write to request a briefing from the Department of Justice on the status of investigations concerning these crimes to better understand existing law enforcement coordination between local agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Civil Rights Division,” it emphasised.

“Attacks at mandirs from New York to California have contributed to increased collective anxiety among Hindu Americans. Leaders from these impacted communities have expressed there are unfortunately “no leads” on suspects, leaving many to continue to live in fear and intimidation,” the Indian-origin lawmakers added.

The letter pointed out, “Our communities remain concerned about law enforcement coordination regarding these bias-motivated crimes, and they are left wondering if there is appropriate federal oversight to ensure equal protection under the law. The number of incidents and the closeness of the timing of incidents raise troubling questions about linkages and the intent behind them.”

Indian-origin US politicians demand briefing from Justice Dept

“It takes relatively few coordinated acts of hate to create fear nationally within a community that has often been marginalized or neglected, and we must work collaboratively to combat hate against all religious, ethnic, racial, and cultural minorities in America,” the Indian-origin politicians said.

“We therefore request that you provide us with an understanding of what the Department’s strategy is specifically concerning hate crimes targeting Hindus in the United States,” they stated.

“Given the urgency of the situation, we ask that you provide us with a briefing no later than Thursday (April 18th),” the letter concluded.

Attacks on Hindu Mandirs in US

In January this year, the Vijay’s Sherawali Temple in Hayward city in California state of the United States was desecrated with pro-Khalistani slogans. The temple was spray-painted with slogans such as ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ and ‘Modi is terrorist.’ 

In a statement, the temple administration said, “Jai Mata Di Bhakto’s. With deep regret, we would like to inform you (that) the Temple has been vandalized last week. We have informed the police and they have classified it as a hate crime.”

“A few other Hindu Temple’s in the area have also been vandalized (most likely by the same culprits). We pray for those who wish harm and hatred on others that Mata Rani cleans their souls and gives them happiness and eradicates hate from their hearts,” it added.

On 22nd December 2023, the Swaminarayan Mandir Vasana Sanstha in Newark city of California, was defaced with pro-Khalistan, anti-Modi and anti-India slogans. The outer wall of the temple was defaced with slogans such as “Khalistan”, “Shaheed [Martyr] Bhindrawale”, “F$%k Modi Jindabad” and “Modi Is Terrorist”.

Similar attacks have taken place in the past, both in the United States and its neighbouring Canada, wherein Hindu temples have been attacked, vandalised and defaced with derogatory graffiti.

India has already voiced alarm over the increasing activities of Khalistani terrorists and has asked countries to cracked down on groups and people attempting to incite separatism in India.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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