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Indian restaurant vandalised in New Mexico

Prashasti Awasthi | Updated on June 24, 2020 Published on June 24, 2020

Hate messages contained threats of violence and derogatory racial slurs

An Indian restaurant -- India Palace -- located in the Sante Fe City of New Mexico, owned by a Sikh, was smashed and vandalized with hate messages scribbled across its walls, as per the NDTV report.

The damage caused to the restaurant is worth $100,000, local Santa Fe Reporter said adding that the vandalization is being investigated by local police and the FBI.

Hours after the attack, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) has condemned the incident.

"This kind of hate and violence is unacceptable and swift action must be taken to ensure the safety and security of all Americans," said Kiran Kaur Gill SALDEF executive director.

According to the local daily, tables were overturned, glassware was smashed into piles on the floor, wine racks were emptied, a statue of a goddess was beheaded and computers were stolen.

The vandals also turned over and destroyed food warmers while the front desk area was devastated, plates smashed and the kitchen rendered completely unusable, it said.

"I walked into the kitchen, I saw everything and I was like, hold on, what? What is going on here?" owner Baljit Singh told Santa Fe Reporter.

"White power," "Trump 2020," "go home," and far worse were spray-painted on walls, doors, counters and any other available surface.

"Some phrases contained threats of violence and derogatory racial slurs," the daily said.

"Santa Fe is a peaceful town, and the Sikh community has lived here, beautifully integrated, since the 60s," said SALDEF board member Simran Singh, who lives nearby the restaurant.

"Tensions have flared recently with the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the removal of statues associated with Spanish colonizers of this area, who committed a number of atrocities," he said.

"Nevertheless, we are seeing an outpouring of love and support around the city and in my experience, our neighbours love and appreciate us, as we love and appreciate them," he added.

SALDEF said that the community has witnessed an explosion of hate crimes including the April 29 incident wherein a Sikh American Lakhwant Singh was brutally attacked by a man identified as Eric Breeman in Lakewood, Colorado.

Lakhwant Singh was told to "go back to your country," while being attacked. No formal hate crime charges have been brought against the attacker, as per media reports.

Published on June 24, 2020
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