Hindu temple destroyed in US, painted idol in black

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : With the religious hatred motive, a Hindu temple has been destroyed in the US Kentucky by miscreants who colored black paint on the idols and left behind a knife stabbed into a chair in the main hall. The incident happened earlier this week at the Swaminarayan Temple in the Louisville city.

The hate crime took place between Sunday night and Tuesday morning when vandalism resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti. Local media reports that the knife was stabbed in the chair and cabinets were emptied.

The shocking incident is creating agitation through the Indian-American community in Louisville Kentucky. For now, authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Talking about 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 temple where the incident took place.

"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 vandalised spots throughout the building," he said. 

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." 

Fischer said that the vandals wrote "repugnant messages of hate." 

"Regardless of what religion you are, this should not happen," Raj Patel from the Swaminarayan temple said. 

"We come here to worship. We should not have to turn our backs to see who is behind us, but we should be happy to come here and worship in peace," he added.

Describing the desecration as "heartbreaking", Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad told reporters that the police will provide additional security to the temple.

"What I'm here to do today is to 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".