The Indian food outlet was opened in 1995.
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Henrico county police in the US state of Virginia have launched an investigation into the racist vandalism of a local Indian restaurant.
The walls of India K’ Raja restaurant were spray-painted with offensive words and phrases in the latest instance of growing racism and hate crimes against Indian-origin people.
According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes in the US rose by 224 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Tony Sappal who opened the restaurant in 1995 said nobody had ever displayed “that kind of anger or hate to us” in the past 27 years.
“I’ve spent more of my life here than anywhere else,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, adding, “I’ve raised my family here.”
He said the food outlet was set up to introduce “healthy, delicious Indian food to the people” at a time when there was no such restaurant in the area.
“I’m very happy with living here and being able to fulfil my dream,” Sappal said of the restaurant, which according to him, was well received by the community.
The food outlet has been involved in several community organisations and supplied food to needy students for free when schools were shut during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, local police chief Eric English emphasised that intimidation and hatred would not be tolerated. “Anyone committing criminal acts will be charged accordingly,” English said.
Henrico county police have also appealed to members of the public to share with them any information on the vandalism.
However, it’s not clear whether the incident would be treated as a misdemeanour or felony.
In August, a statue of Indian freedom movement architect Mahatma Gandhi which stood in front of a Hindu temple in New York was found destroyed.
It was followed by the defiling of the gates of a temple in the Canadian city of Toronto with an anti-India slogan.