Queens, New York: Sukhpal Singh, 27, an Indian-origin man has been arrested by the New York police in connection with the August 16 vandalism of a Mahatma Gandhi statue on the premises of Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill.
Sukhpal Singh, a resident of Little Neck Road, is being charged with criminal mischief. He allegedly provided one of the getaway cars caught on surveillance footage, according to the Queens district attorney’s office. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Indian-American New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar is being credited with successfully pursuing two incidents of hate crime directed at the Gandhi statue outside the Tulsi Mandir. Jenifer, however, did not call for harsh punishment against the apprehended perpetrator in keeping with Gandhi’s philosophy that an “eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.
In the first incident in early August, Gandhi’s statue was toppled over. In the more serious incident on August 16, six men described as a “pack of vandals” by the police arrived in two cars past midnight. They smashed the life-sized statue to pieces using a sledgehammer, said the New York Police Department (NYPD). The second incident took place days after the NYPD chief had visited the Tulsi Mandir and the Sikh Cultural Society in South Richmond Hill.