US: Hindu temple vandalized in Kentucky, deity sprayed black paint
In a hate crime, a Hindu temple has been vandalized in the US state of Kentucky by miscreants who sprayed black paint on the deity and left a knife stabbed into a chair in the main hall. The incident happened between Sunday night and Tuesday morning at the Swaminarayan Temple in Louisville city, and has sent shock waves through the Indian-American community residing there.
According to local media report, vandalism resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti. A knife was stabbed in the chair, and cabinets were emptied. Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Condemning the incident of vandalism, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called upon the city residents to stand up against this hatred. "Anytime we see hatred or bigotry we will stand against it. The cowards who did this have only given our community more fuel and determination to embrace compassion, understanding, and each other," Fischer said as he visited the vandalized temple yesterday.
"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," Fischer said, adding the vandals wrote "repugnant messages of hate."
The vandalism of this temple, Fischer said is another example of the work "we still have to do as a city and a nation to make sure we live to our ideals of equality, of a country where everyone is treated with the respect we all deserve." "Regardless of what religion you are, this should not happen," Raj Patel from the Swaminarayan temple said.
"We come here to worship. We shouldn't have to turn our backs to see who is behind us, but we should be happy to come here and worship in peace," Patel added. Describing the desecration as "heartbreaking", Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad said that the police will provide additional security to the temple, and "will do our best to find," the miscreants.
"I assure everyone that attends this temple that we will do our best to find and hold accountable the person or persons who committed this vandalism and this hate crime," Conrad said. Kentucky State Representative Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian-American elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, said the vandalism was an "act of intimidation designed to weaken our faith and community".
This isn't the first time such incident has taken place in US. In April'15, a Hindu temple in north Texas has been vandalized with nasty images spray-painted on its walls. In February'15, Hindu temples in Kent and the Seattle Metropolitan area were also vandalized.