A billboard for an upcoming Hindu temple in North Carolina was recently fired at, leaving behind more than 60 holes and causing authorities to investigate the incident as Indians in the United States continue to be shocked at the vandalism. The county sheriff’s office in Forsyth said that the incident took place last month and they have been investigating since. Empty shells from a shotgun firing were found at the site and the group responsible for the billboard said that their damages were worth $200. So far, the investigators have found no suspects or leads.
The billboard was put up by Om Hindu, which plans to build a 3,600 sq ft temple on a 7.6 acres property that it bought off in Clemmons earlier this year.
“We as American people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance, respect and inclusion,” Om Hindu said in a statement right after the incident. “We have no doubts that in long run we will be able to practice our religion and live peacefully in this region and work towards a pluralistic society.”
Om Hindu also said that it was not going to step down from executing its plans as the sheriff’s office clarified there was little evidence to suggest that the billboard was attacked on religious grounds.
“It appears just to be vandalism,” said authorities, adding that police have increased its patrols in the area.
Manujunath Shamanna, a member of Om Hindu’s board of directors, said that the religious group first took notice of the vandalized billboard when its members happened to visit the site by chance. Shamanna also said that the group reported the situation to the sheriff's office immediately.
“It is very disappointing,” Shamanna said of the damaged sign. “It could be some kids playing.”
There are as many as 500 Indian families living in Forsyth County. While all of them have been left shocked by the recent damage, former mayor of Clemmons, John Bost, apologized for the vandalism on Facebook.
Union Hill Baptist Church pastor, Reverend Christopher Burcham, said that he and his wife were disheartened when they noticed the vandalized billboard, which happens to be located approximately 275 meters from his church. President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, too demanded quick action against the culprits, saying that the shooting had managed to shock America’s Hindu community.
Photo Credits: India Times