You are reading

Assemblymember Rajkumar Calls for Arrest of Vandals Who Smashed Gandhi Statue in South Richmond Hill Tuesday

Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar (L) has called for the immediate arrest of six men who are wanted by police for destroying a statute of Mahatma Gandhi with a sledgehammer in South Richmond Hill Tuesday (Photos: Jenifer Rajkumar via jeniferforny.com and the vandalized statue via Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol)

Aug. 19, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar has called for the immediate arrest of six men who are wanted by police for destroying a statute of Mahatma Gandhi with a sledgehammer in South Richmond Hill Tuesday.

Rajkumar said that the hateful incident — which took place in front of the Hindu temple Tulsi Mandir at 103-26 111 St. — has shocked the entire borough and she wants the vandals apprehended without delay.

“I call for the perpetrators to be apprehended swiftly, charged, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Rajkumar, who is the first Hindu-American to be elected to the state legislature.

Police say that the six suspects, who are all aged between 25 and 30 years of age, smashed the statue with a sledgehammer at around 1:30 a.m. The statue was situated outside the front entrance of the building.

An image tweeted by Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol, a community safety group, shows the statue face down on the ground and debris from the sculpture strewn beside it.

The back of the statue was also spray-painted with the word “kutta,” which means dog in Hindi. The English word “dog” was also spray-painted on the ground beside the statue, the picture shows.

The alleged vandals, police say, then fled the scene on foot toward Liberty Avenue. Video footage released by police Thursday shows the suspects walking along the street, including one perpetrator who is casually carrying a sledgehammer over his shoulder.

The suspects then split up and got into two vehicles: a white-colored Mercedes Benz and a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry, police said.

 

Tuesday’s incident comes less than two weeks after the same statue was toppled over by a group of three suspects. It is unclear whether the incidents are related.

Police said The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is helping with both investigations.

Rajkumar said that she has received an outpouring of support from people throughout the borough — and from people around the world – following the latest incident.

“We always knew that defeating hate would not be accomplished in one day, one week, or even one year,” said Rajkumar, whose 38th District covers neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale.

“We are committed to this fight for the long term, and will use the Hindu principles of ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (soul force) that guided Gandhi himself and later the great American civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.”

“With the support we have received… I am more optimistic than ever that we will succeed in defeating these forces of hate.”

Anyone with information in regard to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Tuesday’s incident took place in front of the Hindu temple Tulsi Mandir, located at 103-26 111 St. (Photo: Google Maps)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-ed: An urgent call for revising NY’s criminal justice reforms to protect public safety

Apr. 11, 2024 By Council Member Robert Holden

In 2019, the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a controversial overhaul of New York’s criminal justice system by enacting several laws, including cashless bail and sweeping changes to discovery laws. Simultaneously, the New York City Council passed laws that compounded these challenges, notably the elimination of punitive segregation in city jails and qualified immunity for police officers. These actions have collectively undermined public safety and constrained law enforcement effectiveness.

Young man sought for scrawling swastika on an SUV in Middle Village: NYPD

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is now looking for a suspect who allegedly drew a swastika on an SUV in Middle Village late last month.

Police from the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood reported that on the afternoon of Saturday, Mar. 30, an unidentified man approached a Honda Pilot parked in front of a home at 66-65 70th St., just north of All Saints Cemetery and drew the swastika on the rear bumper of the vehicle at around 5:45 p.m..

City employee charged in fatal collision that killed a Middle Village woman in Elmhurst last month: NYPD

A truck driver for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection was arrested and charged in a fatal collision in Elmhurst last month.

Roderick Mitchell, 38, of Valley Stream, Long Island, turned himself in at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, where he was charged with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care for striking 43-year-old Natalia Garcia-Valencia of Middle Village on the morning of Tuesday, Mar. 12.