Vandals attacked a Hindu temple in Monroe, Georgia earlier this week, spray-painting profanities and phrases like “ha ha” and “LOL” on the walls. The perpetrators also broke into the small outbuilding that held the temple’s sacred relics, tore out the icon of the deity Shiva and painted it completely black.
MyFoxAtlanta.com reported that this was the second time vandals struck the Vishwa Bhavan Mandir temple. In 2013, they sabotaged the building’s air conditioners. Police believe the same offenders may have been behind both attacks.
“As soon as I saw it I was just devastated,” said temple member Kelly Dammar to Atlanta’s Channel 5. “I was in tears because this is like another home for me.”
The vandals also struck a group of trailer homes and a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall located nearby. At the Kingdom Hall, parishioner David Lemon was installing cameras when he spoke to Channel 5.
“I think it’s just young kids messing around,” he said.
The Hindu American Seva Communities (HSC) advocacy group has taken up the case, saying in a statement that the attacks are “heartbreaking.”
“The desecration of the Lord Shiva statue was significantly heartbreaking for the Hindu community in Georgia, as it is the main deity of worship. Across the country, we find, many mandirs [temples] do not actively voice their concerns other than file a police report,” said the group.