A 17-year-old arrested in connection with vandalism at the Swaminarayan Temple.
A Hindu temple in Louisville, Kentucky, was vandalized by hate mongers. The incident is said to have happened between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, at a time when the Midwest had been bracing one of the worst cold snaps ever.
On Thursday, police arrested a 17-year-old student believed to be responsible for the crime. The name of the juvenile is not being released but the public school student from Jefferson County has been charged with third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.
Local reports suggest that suspects entered the temple premises and sprayed black paint on the statues of deities.
Window panes were broken and walls were painted black in an apparent hate crime. A knife was left stabbed on the chair and inappropriate graffiti was scribbled on the walls.
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The incident has sent shock waves among the Hindu and Indian American community across the United States.
Among those condemning the attack was Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Anytime we see hatred or bigotry we will stand against it,” he said. “The cowards who did this have only given our community more fuel and determination to embrace compassion, understanding, and each other.”
While visiting the temple, the mayor also said: “Sometime between the end of services at the Swaminarayan Temple on Bardstown Road on Sunday and the time a repairman arrived on Tuesday morning, vandals broke into a window and vandalized spots throughout the building.”
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Indian American Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi condemned the attack. “I am outraged and heartbroken to see the vandalism of Louisville, Kentucky’s Swaminarayan Temple in what was unquestionably an act of hate that strikes at the sense of security and belonging of the Hindu-American community in Louisville and across our nation,” the Illinois Democrat said. “This act of violent bigotry touches me personally as a Congressman and as a Hindu-American. This is an attack on our identity as a nation that accepts people of all races, colors, creeds and backgrounds committed to building our more perfect, more diverse union. We must show our support for the Swaminarayan Temple, even as we recognize this prejudice as part of growing trend of hate-motivated crimes in America, whether it’s against a Hindu temple in Louisville, a synagogue in Los Angeles, or a man walking alone down the morning streets of Chicago.”
The congressman said that he will be introducing a bill to discourage crimes of such nature. “To address the increase in hate crimes we’ve witnessed over these, past few years, I’ll be introducing an updated version of legislation I introduced last Congress to establish a federal commission on hate crimes to investigate the nature of this increase in hate-motivated attacks, its root causes, and how we defeat it,” he said. “My heart is with the Swaminarayan Temple in Louisville today, and I will remain committed to confronting and defeating the individuals and forces responsible.”