You are reading

Eric Adams, Queens Lawmakers, Hold Rally Outside South Richmond Hill Temple Where Gandhi Statue Was Destroyed

Mayor Eric Adams, Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar and several other Queens officials held a rally outside a South Richmond Hill temple Wednesday where a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was recently destroyed by vandals. (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Aug. 25, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Mayor Eric Adams, Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar and several other Queens lawmakers held a rally outside a South Richmond Hill temple Wednesday where a statue of Mahatma Gandhi was recently destroyed by vandals.

The rally took place in front of the Hindu temple Tulsi Mandir, located at 103-26 111 St., where police say six vandals smashed a sculpture of Gandhi with a sledgehammer last week. The incident came less than two weeks after the same statue – which had been standing in front of the temple — was toppled over by a group of three suspects.

The event was organized by Rajkumar and was attended by several Queens electeds including State Senator James Sanders, Assemblymembers David Weprin and Khaleel Anderson, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams along with Councilmembers Linda Lee and Joann Ariola. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz was also present along with several representatives from the Hindu community.

The attendees said they were coming together to show a unified front against Hindu hate.

Adams denounced the attack on the statue and vowed to catch the suspects responsible for the crimes.

“We are not going to stand back and allow attacks on our houses of worship… and we will not allow an individual to participate in this hate without going apprehended,” Adams said.

Adams, who said he had visited Gandhi’s home in India in the past, said that hate has no place in a diverse city like New York City. He said preventative measures such as the “Breaking Bread, Building Bonds” program would help stamp out future acts of hate. The program, which Adams helped establish in 2020, sees people of different backgrounds coming together for a meal in order to learn about different cultures.

“The goal is not only responding to hate but preventing hate,” Adams said. “We fight to remove hate and create an environment where hate will not fester and grow.”

 the vandalized statue via Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol)

The vandalized Gandhi statue after a group of 6 suspects destroyed it with a sledgehammer (Photo: Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol)

The latest attack on the statue took place on Aug. 16 at around 1:30 a.m. when six unidentified suspects decimated the structure with a sledgehammer, according to police. The statue was found face down on the ground while the back of the statue was 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.

Rajkumar said that the symbolic meaning behind the statue will live on, even though the physical sculpture had been destroyed.

“The Gandhi statue may be gone but we will continue to spread Gandhi’s message of peace and love throughout the city, the state and the entire nation,” Rajkumar said. “We are proud Hindus, and we are proud Americans.”

Rajkumar said that Gandhi — and the Hindu principles of ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (soul force) – inspired Martin Luther King’s push for civil rights in America.

The lawmaker, who is the first Hindu-American to be elected to the state legislature, said that she has received an outpouring of support from people throughout the borough — and from people around the world – following the latest incident.

Meanwhile, Katz said that her office is investigating the alleged crimes in coordination with the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force.

“If you spew hate, we will come together as a community and say, ‘we will not tolerate it.’” Katz said.

“Hate crimes in Queens county will be prosecuted. “We will find you, we will hold you accountable… and we will make sure you are brought to justice.”

Attendees outside the Hindu temple Tulsi Mandir Wednesday (Photo Michael AppletonMayoral Photography Office)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a community safety issue press conference with New York State Assemblymember Jennifer Rajkuma outside Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill, Queens on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Attendees outside Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

email the author: [email protected]

5 Comments

Click for Comments 
Javier

For a Mayor who was a former police officer, he hasn’t done SQUAT about the daily crime in NYC. He’s too busy canoodling with hip-hop artists. One term Mayor most likely. Just don’t arrest me when I defend myself from these animals because the NYPD won’t.

3
2
Reply
Michael

Javier, I’m 82 years old and walk with the aid of a cane. I can’t defend myself. I live in Jackson Heights and was mugged 3 weeks ago by a young male. I gave him all my money ($38) so he would not harm me and he didn’t. I no longer feel safe.

1
3
Reply
Javier

I’m sorry that you have to live that way. No one should have to live in fear, especially the elderly who should be respected and children who should be off-limits, period. Hopefully you will always have a protector guiding your way and keeping you from future harm.

2
1
Reply
Michael

When you consider the massive amount of daily crime against innocent NYC residents, I doubt if any non Hindu cares about a broken statue. The politicians in this photo are a disgrace.

3
2
Reply

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

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.