One of five arrested in temple desecration 1

The Tulsi Mandir Hindu temple in South Richmond Hill was vandalized for the second time in a month on Aug. 16. One man was arrested and charged over the weekend in connection with the second attack, which left a sacred statue shattered and the area graffitied, above.

One man has been charged with a hate crime for the Aug. 16 vandalization of the Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill.

Sukhpal Singh, 27, of Douglaston, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime for the early morning incident in which a Gandhi statue was smashed and the temple area was spray-painted, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Monday.

After the 3:30 a.m. incident in August, a priest arrived to the temple later that morning and found the statue shattered and the words “Kutta Dog” graffitied.

Surveillance video obtained by police showed that Singh worked alongside four others on the night of the incident. They remain at large. 

Singh was arrested on Saturday and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He was also charged with criminal mischief in the second degree and aggravated harassment in the first degree. He was arraigned yesterday and is due back in court on Oct. 17.

Singh was traced back to one of the getaway cars seen in surveillance footage, a Mercedes Benz C-Class vehicle registered to him.

Back in August, police said that the incident was being investigated as a pattern along with an Aug. 3 attack on the temple, which left the statue toppled but less damaged. 

Katz’s office could not comment on any connection because the incidents are still under investigation.

In a prepared statement she said, “As alleged, the defendant, along with several unapprehended others, committed a disgraceful act of violence against a Mahatma Gandhi statue that has become a universal symbol of peace, unity and inclusivity. Hate and bias-motivated attacks have no place in our communities and my Office will hold such perpetrators accountable.” 

Katz joined Mayor Adams, Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Woodhaven) and many other community and religious leaders at a press conference at Tulsi Mandir at the end of August to denounce the recent acts of hate.