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Business News/ News / Need briefing on hate crimes against Hindus in the US, Indian-American lawmakers demand
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Need briefing on hate crimes against Hindus in the US, Indian-American lawmakers demand

In the letter, written by the members of congress of South Asian descent including Shri Thanedar, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Ami Bera noted that these attacks on the temples have contributed to increased collective anxiety among Hindu Americans.

The security has been beefed up outside the Indian Embassy in the US in the wake of protests called out by Khalistan supporters.Premium
The security has been beefed up outside the Indian Embassy in the US in the wake of protests called out by Khalistan supporters.

United States lawmakers led by the Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and other lawmakers have sent a letter to the US Department of Justice inquiring about the progress of their investigation into vandalism at houses of worship across the country, attacks on mandirs, and the Department’s broader strategy against hate crimes targeting Hindus in the United States.

In a letter, the members of Congress of South Asian descent wrote, “Attacks at mandirs from New York to California have contributed to increased collective anxiety among Hindu Americans."

The letter included members - Shri Thanedar, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, and Ami Bera. It added, "We have observed an alarming increase in incidents of vandalism at houses of worship across the country including at Hindu mandirs ("temples"). 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."

"Leaders from these impacted communities have expressed there are unfortunately "no leads" on suspects, leaving many to continue to live in fear and intimidation," it added.

In addition to this, the congressmen in the letter also wrote over their concern on the law enforcement coordination regarding these 'bias-motivated crimes'. The letter stated, "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. 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," it added.

"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. Given the urgency of the situation, we ask that you provide us with a briefing no later than Thursday, April 18th," letter read further.

The letter which was shared by the Hindu American Foundation said that many of the attacks featured Khalistani slogans and themes meant to cause "fear and intimidation" in the Hindu American community and lack of action is raising concerns and urgency of this briefing.

"Many of these mandir attacks featured Khalistani slogans & themes meant to cause "fear & intimidation" in the Hindu American community. The lack of arrests is raising concerns & increasing the urgency of this briefing," it posted on X.

On the letter sent to the US dpeartment of Justice, The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) thanked the congressmen for raising the issue and asked for a national discussion on Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu hate to tackle the root cause of these attacks.

"We thank @CongressmanRaja, @ShriThanedar, @RoKhanna, @RepBera and @Repjayapalfor finally conveying the deep fear that has been haunting the #Hindu community in the US. We ask for a national discussion on #Hinduphobia and #antiHindu hate to tackle the root cause of these attacks. We also ask for other lawmakers at all levels, to step up and take action," it posted on X.

Vandalism incidents of Hindu Temples

In January 2024, a Hindu temple in Hayward, California, has been defaced with pro-Khalistan graffiti. This incident at Sherawali Temple comes weeks after the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California was defaced by anti-India graffiti. Prior to that in December, suspected pro-Khalistan activists had allegedly defaced the Swaminarayan temple in Newark, California, the police had said. The exterior wall of the Hindu temple was defaced with anti-India graffiti. At the time, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had taken note of the incident and reiterated that extremists and separatists should not be given space. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 02 Apr 2024, 10:12 AM IST
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