A Hindu priest in New York was attacked on Thursday and the police have launched an investigation to see if it was indeed a hate crime or if there was any other motive.
According to reports, the incident happened in broad daylight at 11 am on Thursday when Swami Harish Chander Puri was near the Shiv Shakti Peeth in Glen Oaks in New York City.
The attacker was allegedly waiting for the priest near the temple. He attacked the priest from behind and hit him repeatedly while saying, "This is my neighbourhood." The priest was in his religious attire when he was attacked, reports Republic.
The priest was rushed to the hospital immediately after the attack and is on his way to a full recovery.
The attacker was arrested soon after the incident and is currently in police custody. He has been identified as Sergio Gouveia and the police booked him under charges for assault, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment.
A Facebook group, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus first broke the news on its page. They wrote, "We are deeply heartbroken by reports of a brutal attack on Swami Harish Chander Puri ji, priest of the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple in Glen Oaks, Queens, NY. He was attacked by a man who reportedly screamed 'this is my neighborhood.'"
They said that the priest is recovering and he is praying for his attacker too.
"Bigotry and xenophobia do not distinguish between Hindus and Muslims or black and brown skin. When the US President targets immigrants and refugees and encourages chants of "send her back" at rallies, this results in real harm inflicted on our communities," the post read referring to President Donald Trump singling out four democratic Congresswomen in a tweet and asking them to go back if they did not like the United States.