US temple welcomes Mahatma Gandhi: New statue unveiled after 2022 Vandalism in New York

US: New York City leaders have unveiled a replacement Mahatma Gandhi statue outside a Hindu temple in Queens, months after the original monument was smashed by vandals twice in 2022.

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US: New York City leaders have unveiled a replacement Mahatma Gandhi statue outside a Hindu temple in Queens, months after the original monument was smashed by vandals twice in 2022.

Mayor says hate has “no place” as Gandhi returns

“Last year, the statue of Gandhi that stood in South Richmond Hill was destroyed. But our solidarity and spirit to rebuild was not,” said Mayor Eric Adams at the ceremony.

Along with a slate of lawmakers and officials, Adams presided over the debut of the new Gandhi figure Friday outside Shri Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill.

“Today, we stood with the community to say in one voice: Hate has no place in our city,” the mayor posted on social media.

The ceremony sent a resolute message that “love will always triumph over hate,” according to the office of New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, who represents the district.

Twice-toppled Gandhi reinstalled after outcry

The previous Gandhi monument was famously wrecked in August 2022 by an unknown vandal who smashed it repeatedly with a sledgehammer in broad daylight. Shockingly, that same statue had already been torn down and destroyed weeks earlier as well.

The wanton vandalism of the peace icon, crafted by Indian artists, prompted outrage both locally and internationally. It also triggered widespread demands to reinstall Gandhi to show Richmond Hill stands firmly against hate.

At the time, Rajkumar led candlelight vigils bringing together Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist leaders to promote healing after the traumatic hate incidents targeting Eastern faiths.

"A year ago, I led the Richmond Hill community in an international movement for peace after vandals destroyed our Mahatma Gandhi Statue in a hate crime. Today was a historic moment as @NYCMayor and I unveiled a brand new Gandhi statue at the site. Love will always conquer hate," she said.

Authorities vowed to punish Gandhi statue attackers

The Indian Consulate General in New York strongly condemned the initial act of vandalism, pushing law enforcement to find and punish the perpetrators. The NYPD opened an active investigation, but no suspects have been publicly identified.

Along with Adams, Council Member Lynn Schulman attended last week’s welcoming back of Gandhi in a show of interfaith solidarity. She noted hate crimes spiked across New York City last year, though most bias incidents went unsolved by police.