Eric Adams Unveils Gandhi Statue Outside Temple After Vandalism Of 2022
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Indian American State Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar unveiled a new Mahatma Gandhi statue, more than a year after the previous one was vandalized twice outside a Hindu temple in the state.
Located in front of Shri Tulsi Mandir on 111th Street in Richmond Hill, the Gandhi statue was knocked over, spray painted with the word “dog”, and battered with a sledgehammer on August 3 and 16, 2022.
“Last year, the statue of Gandhi that stood in South Richmond Hill was destroyed. But our solidarity and spirit to rebuild was not. Today, we stood with the community to say in one voice: Hate has no place in our city,” Mayor Adams said at the event attended by members of the Indian American community.
Rajkumar, who was at the forefront, calling for an investigation into the incident as a hate crime against Hindus and Indians, posted a video of the ceremony and said it was “exciting” to unveil the statue along with Mayor Adams.
After the first attack, Rajkumar brought together several elected officials, including House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks, to condemn the attack and demand police action.
As the first Hindu elected to the New York State legislature, Rajkumar said, “When the Gandhi statue was vandalized, that really flew in the face of all of our beliefs and it’s very disturbing for the community”.
Assembly Member David Weprin, Council Member Lynn Schulman, and Pandit Lakhram Maharaj, founder of Shri Tulsi Mandir, were also present at the ceremony.
According to the New York Police, six unidentified men — between 25 and 30 years — were spotted on surveillance video vandalizing the statue, following which they fled after getting into two separate cars, a white Mercedes Benz, and a dark Toyota Camry.
A month after the attack, 27-year-old Sukhpal Singh, who was part of a group, was arrested and charged with hate crimes.