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Indian American Representatives call for DOJ action following temple attacks

The letter underscored the lack of progress in identifying suspects, leaving affected communities in a state of fear and uncertainty

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi / Krishnamoorthi.house.gov

A coalition of U.S. Representatives, led by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, has taken a firm stance against recent attacks on places of worship, specifically targeting mandirs, or Hindu temples, across the United States. The group, which includes Ro Khanna, Shri Thanedar, Pramila Jayapal, and Ami Bera, has penned a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), seeking clarity on ongoing investigations into these incidents and a broader strategy to combat hate crimes against Hindus.

“Attacks at mandirs from New York to California have contributed to increased collective anxiety among Hindu Americans,” the Members wrote. “Leaders from these impacted communities have expressed there are unfortunately ‘no leads’ on suspects, leaving many to continue to live in fear and intimidation,” stated the letter.

The letter underscored the lack of progress in identifying suspects, leaving affected communities in a state of fear and uncertainty. Questions have been raised regarding the coordination among law enforcement agencies and the need for federal oversight to ensure equal protection under the law.

“It takes relatively few coordinated acts of hate to create fear   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. 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.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts to combat hate in all its forms, the signatories stress the necessity for transparency regarding the DOJ's approach to addressing hate crimes targeting Hindus. They have called for an urgent briefing on the matter, scheduled no later than Apr. 18th.

Khanderao Kand, Chief of Policy and Strategy at the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies expressed that this call for federal intervention comes at a time of growing concern within the Indian diaspora and South Asian communities, who fear for their safety and religious freedom in the United States.

“In Q1 2024, we witnessed sudden spike in gratifies, vandalism as well as thefts on temples in America intimidating devotees. On the background of local officials often failing to investigate the cases to find culprits, we thank Indian American House of Representatives asking FBI and DOJ to investigate. We hope that FBI/DOJ would investigate to find any campaign or conspiracy if exists behind such attacks to assure peace loving Indian diaspora / south asians about their safety and freedom of religion,” Kand added.

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