Businessman’s Store Vandalized in Suspected Hate Crime Incident in US

Indian business owner Rajesh Patnaik's store vandalized with threatening messages.


In an alleged hate crime incident, Indian American business owner Rajesh Patnaik’s store was vandalized with threatening messages by miscreants in Indianapolis.

Miscreants left hate messages on the exterior walls of Patnaik’s sign printing store, Signs by Tomorrow. Many of the messages targeted the Hindu religion, with graffiti saying “Hindu Traitors”, and “Traitor Shiva Knows”. The messages were written with spray paint, reported, adding that the vandalists set fire at the shop’s back door.

“It is shocking, it hurts. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’ve lived in the U.S. for a little over nine years,” Patnaik was quoted as saying. ”The person probably knows something, maybe something superficially, about Hinduism and they probably don’t like the fact that I am practicing Hinduism.”

Neighbors Condemn Attack

Neighboring business owners condemned the racial attack on Patnaik, calling him a friendly and helpful person.

“It’s just hate. People don’t understand his religion. They don’t understand these people. He’s done nothing to hurt anybody,” Steve Carnal, his neighbor, said.

Inna Prikhodko, a Russian-American who owns a business next door to Signs by tomorrow too condemned the attack, saying, “It makes me sad, how little people can be, that their minds are so small.”

Patnaik and his wife Vidhya are shocked after the incident, but they are not scared of racial vandalism. “It is probably somebody who doesn’t understand that people of different faiths can coexist. That is the only thing I can think of. I don’t know of anyone would want to do this,” he said.

Law Against Hate Crime

Incidents like this show the need of a hate crime law in Indiana, Arun Jain, the spokesperson for the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, said. Indiana is one of the five states in the United States where a written hate crime law is not prevalent.

“They have to be treated in a harsher way because the attempt is to terrorize an entire community, not just to hurt an individual.  So the current laws are just not adequate in terms of taking care of this type of problem,” said Jain, Fox 59 reported.

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