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Underconstruction Hindu temple attacked in US

Written by: Staff

Washington, Apr 10: A million traditional Hindu temple in Maple Grove, Minnesota, set to open in June this year, was vandalised and some of its statues damaged.

The sculptures were carved by artisans in India.

Maple Grove police said there were no suspects and the vandalism, which occurred last Wednesday and caused several thousand dollars' damage, does not appear to be a hate crime.

The walls of the auditorium and ceiling of a dining hall were punctured, and a window was broken in one of the classrooms, according to temple officials.

Umesh Singh of the Hindu Society of Minnesota said some of the statues of deities were disfigured and dismembered.

''We cannot use most of them,'' he said, referring to Hindu tradition that does not allow damaged deities to be used for worship.

On deciding upon the inauguration date of the temple he said some of the statues are unharmed and we ''have to see how long would it take to repair the temple.'' Meanwhile, temple officials have said that it would take about 12 weeks to carve each of the seven or eight-to-6-foot-figures that were damaged in the attack.

Maple Grove Police Captain Tracy Stille said hate crimes have distinct characteristics that so far cannot be associated with the damage done to the temple. Investigators have checked the neighborhood looking for leads, he said.

There are more than 20,000 Hindus in Minnesota and nearly two million in the United States.

Al Madsen, city administrator for Maple Grove, said city officials have been supportive of the construction of the temple, which began more than 18 months ago on a 40-acre site.

He said the incident would not have any effect on the city's relationship with members of the temple.

''There's no significance tied to the fact that this is a Hindu temple," Mr Grove said.

Maple Grove officials will meet next week to decide on inceasing security at the temple site.


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