Hindu temple vandalised in Texas, USA

A Hindu temple has been vandalized in Texas, USA. The incident took place in Rio Grande Valley area which houses just that one temple for the small Hindu community living there.

The Shiv Shakti temple and Shri Nanak centre on Trenton Road in Edinburg was targeted and graffiti like ‘Killer’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ was scribbled on temple gates using blue spray paint.

The Texas Demographic Center data of 2017 states that the population of Asians in the valley is less than three percent and that of Hindus is even lesser. This incident has left the small community both shocked and hurt, with the feeling of exclusion.

Kiran Desai, who moved to the valley about 3 decades ago, told a local TV channel that the incident reminded him of the hateful things he would hear when he first moved here like “you don’t belong here; this is a white man country”. Since then, locals have generally been welcoming and friendly, but this act has left him confused and shocked, he added.

Former South Padre Island Mayor Bharat Patel who is a temple advocate lives about an hour and a half drive away from the temple. He is a frequent visitor to the temple and for him, the temple is about feeling at home and connecting with the community. In his interview with the channel following the incident, Patel emphasised that this act of vandalism comes as a shock for the small community which has always lived peacefully alongside their American neighbours.

The community is now considering installation of surveillance cameras. Both Desai and Patel are focused on forgiveness and reiterated the need to reach out and explain ‘who they (Hindus) are’ to others in the community. The case is under investigation and the temple owners have declined to comment on it.

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