MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (AP) - Authorities were trying to determine Friday who caused several thousand dollars in damage to a $9 million Hindu temple under construction in this Minneapolis suburb.
Police said they had no suspects, but that the vandalism didn't appear to be a hate crime, although they didn't rule it out, either.
Umesh Singh of the Hindu Society of Minnesota said he agrees with police that the act appeared to be random.
The vandal or vandals caused extensive damage to some of the temple's religious statues, which were carved by artisans in India.
Singh said some of the deities were decapitated and dismembered and thus cannot be used for worship, according to Hindu tradition.
"We cannot use most of them," he said, referring to Hindu tradition that does not allow damaged deities to be used for worship.
The walls of the auditorium and ceiling of a dining hall were punctured about 125 times, apparently by blows from a baseball bat, and a window was broken in one of the classrooms, according to temple officials and police.
Temple officials said it would take up to 12 weeks and four sculptors to re-carve each of the seven or eight 4-to-6-foot-figures that were damaged.
Five deities were not vandalized.
Police Capt. Tracy Stille said the damage didn't appear to fit with distinct characteristics characteristic of hate crimes.
"This was extensive," he said. "We're certainly looking at any possibility, bias-motivated or not."
There are more than 20,000 Hindus in Minnesota and between 1 million and 1.6 million in the United States. While there are Hindu houses of worship in Brooklyn Park and northeast Minneapolis, the nearest traditional-style temple similar to the one being built in Maple Grove is in Chicago.
Officials of the 42,000-square-foot temple, which is on a 40-acre site, were assessing whether it could open as scheduled in June.
"We have had dreams to have this place for the last 30 years. We worked so hard," society member Kumud Sane said.
Sridhar Ranganatha, a volunteer priest at the temple, disagreed with those who doubt the vandalism was a hate crime. He said it looks like the work of someone who had a grudge against the Hindu community.
"We're a peace-loving community," he said. "Someone has done it out of hatred." http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/S15410.html?cat=1
Why the Hindus...i mean they are a relatively peaceful community...and haven't caused any trouble in the states so why the hate crime against them..?