‘Call for action’: US Congressman highlights law enforcement inaction in attacks on Hindu temples

US Congressman

WASHINGTON: Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar¬†interacted with members of the Hindu community on Monday and spoke about the issue of rising attacks on Hindu temples across America and the fear among the community, saying that “local law enforcement hasn’t taken enough action” to investigate the recent attacks.

This comes as he introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning Hinduphobia, anti-Hindu bigotry, hate, and intolerance on April 10. The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

“We’ve seen a lot of attacks happening on Hindu temples across the United States and we’ve seen a lot more in more recent times. And it’s time for us to seek support. There’s a fear. Many Hindu communities are under fear. And what we’ve seen is that local law enforcement hasn’t taken enough action. We have not seen any suspects, any arrests, or any resolution to these issues,” he said while citing it as a reason for introducing the resolution in US Congress.

“That (attack incident) has created a lot of fear among the Indian American community, among the Hindu community, and a lot of misinformation has been spread. And so the purpose of this resolution is to bring that to the attention of Congress and to the Biden administration,” he added.

Congressman Thanedar also said that he expects bipartisan support in Congress as it reflects American values, adding that he will continue to fight against racism.

“Well, I expect bipartisan support because American values–freedom, equality, and racial justice–are all American values. And I expect my congressional colleagues from across the aisle to co-sponsor this resolution and be part of it,” he said.

“I’ll continue to stand and fight for justice, just like I fight for justice for my community in Detroit, Michigan, and fighting against racism, fighting against systemic racism that my community in Detroit has experienced for decades,” he added.

Another Indian-American, Vijay Sadhawal, who was present at the event, expressed his concern over the ‘bias of the American media’ towards American Hindus and said that the resolution is just the starting point to raising the voice of the Hindu community.

“We have enough Hindu Americans in the country that can actually be a steering rod, so to speak, for protecting our minority rights in this country. And yet we see that the instruments of democracy, like the media, civil society, and NGOs, seem to be biased against the Hindu population of the United States,” he said.

“The proposal that Congressman Thanedar has introduced. I think it’s a starting point. It’s a starting point for saying that, hey, we are people. We are also people, as Americans, as anybody else. We have as many rights as everybody else has,” he added.

He also drew parallels to the attacks on Kashmiri Pandits after the 1990s and said that he “sees a tremendous similarity that serves the institutions.”

“The striking similarity is that if I take you back to Kashmir, which is a Hindu minority region in another democracy, and I look back at the events that took place in late last century, especially after the 1980s and beyond, I see a tremendous similarity that serves the institutions that in the democracy are intended to protect you,” he said.

“So I’m concerned in that light that Hindu Americans are at the crossroads. And if we don’t act up now, if we don’t realise what we have and our rights, both civil rights and otherwise, we will be in the same situation that Kashmiri Hindus were, who basically, a few years ago, came out of a movie called Kashmir Files. And the Indian population, by and large, said, We never heard that a genocide had been committed in Kashmir,” he added.

The resolution that Congressman Shri Thanedar introduced earlier last week reads that Hindu Americans face stereotypes and disinformation about their heritage and symbols, and have been the targets of bullying in schools and on college campuses, as well as discrimination and hate speech.

“…the House of Representatives– (1) celebrates the contributions of Hindus and Hinduism to the United States of America; (2) declares the United States as a place that welcomes the diversity brought by Hindu Americans; (3) condemns Hinduphobia, anti-Hindu bigotry and hate, and intolerance; and (4) makes appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the public and the press,” the resolution read.

In the past few years, attacks on Hindu temples and communities have surged, with cases being registered to investigate the attacks.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) shared information about the vandalisation of California’s Sherawali Temple in a social media post on Friday. A photo of the defacement was also shared by the HAF.

On December 23, last year, a Hindu temple was defaced with pro-Khalistani slogans in California’s Newark city. The pictures were shared on the social media platform ‘X’ by the Hindu American Foundation, showing slogans scribbled on the walls of the Swaminarayan Mandir Vasana Sanstha.

Images showed hateful slogans against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the wall of the temple.

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. (ANI)

Also Read: Another Hindu temple vandalized in California

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