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Hindu Priest Brutally Attacked in Queens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Directs State Authorities to Assist in NYPD Investigation

What to Know

  • An attack on a Hindu priest in Queens has prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to direct the state authorities to assist the NYPD in its investigation
  • "I am disgusted by the attack on a Hindu priest in Queens, mere blocks away from the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple," Cuomo said
  • Swami Harishchander Puri was attacked last week

An attack on a Hindu priest in Queens has prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to direct the state authorities to assist the NYPD in its investigation.

Cuomo announced Tuesday morning that he is directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to help the NYPD with the probe into the attack against Swami Harishchander Puri that occurred last week.

"I am disgusted by the attack on a Hindu priest in Queens, mere blocks away from the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple. This terrible, inexcusable act of violence is now being investigated as a potential hate crime,” he said in a statement.

"Violence of any kind toward others based on their faith or race is offensive to all New Yorkers and repugnant to our values. These hate-fueled acts are meant to incite fear and division within our communities, and we must stand together and disavow this behavior immediately,” Cuomo’s statement goes on to say, adding that “acts like this are not just disgusting - they are illegal, and we will never allow hate and discrimination to divide us in New York.”

Puri has been a Hindu priest for the past 50 years. He considers himself a man of peace, who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Puri was beaten just a few blocks from his temple in an attack police are calling a hate crime.

Puri, a Queens resident for more than 30 years, says he doesn’t know his attacker.

Incidents of hate crime-driven vandalism, harassment and assault have been reported and become more common than before.

Councilman Corey Johnson previously called on the mayor to fund on a new office of hate crime prevention.

Unfortunately, New York City is not the only place experiencing a spike in hate crimes. Nationwide, hate crimes are up as well.

As Puri now recovers from the physical and emotional impact of the attack, he says he holds no ill-will or resentment toward the man that viciously attacked him and sent him to the hospital.

Rather, he says he will continue to heal the community through prayer, good words and good vibes while he plans to go forth teaching a class on forgiveness.

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