Gandhi statue outside Hindu temple in New York vandalised in possible hate crime: Reports

In a possible hate crime, unidentified persons destroyed a handcrafted statue of Mahatma Gandhi with a hammer at a Hindu temple here earlier this month, media reports said on Friday.

According to, surveillance video shows a man thrashing a Gandhi statue with a hammer on Tuesday, then beheading it and knocking it down.

The report said that a few minutes later, a group of six people stomp on it and take turns hitting the statue with hammers before it can be taken down.

“It is very painful to see him following us like this,” Lakhram Maharaj, the founder of Shri Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill, said in the report.

Maharaj came to know that the Gandhi statue had turned into rubble on Wednesday morning.
The word “dog” was spray painted both in front of the temple and on the bottom of the block.

Investigating officials said that the same statue of Gandhi was vandalized two weeks ago.

“When Gandhi’s statue was vandalized, it was really against all our beliefs and it was very disturbing for the community,” Assembly member Jennifer Rajkumar said in the report.

Media reports said the New York Police Department is investigating both incidents as possible hate crimes.

Maharaj says that many people in the community are now afraid to go to the temple.

“I can’t show the congregation that I’m worried because if I show them that I’m worried and I’m not strong, how will they be strong?” The report quoted him as saying. The report said the temple authorities could not afford to replace the Gandhi statue, as it was handcrafted and cost around US$4,000.

“I want to know why they did this,” said Maharaj. This is not the first time that a Gandhi statue has been vandalized in America.

In February this year, the 8-foot-tall Gandhi statue located in Manhattan’s Union Square was defaced by unidentified persons.

In December 2020, Khalistani-supporters desecrated a Gandhi statue in Washington, DC in front of the Indian embassy.

The then White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, described the incident as “horrific”.

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