NEW YORK: A Hindu priest was attacked by a middle-aged US national while he was taking a walk along the street, in his religious garb, near a temple in Floral Park here, the US media reported. With probably no basis, though, the attack was immediately “linked” to a “go back” call made by President Donald Trump to those who came to settle down in the US and do not feel comfortable here.
Victim of the attack, Swami Harish Chander Puri said that around 11am Thursday, he was waylaid near the Shiv Shakti Peeth in Glen Oaks. He was walking down the street, when the attacker drew up close from behind and started hitting him, repeatedly. Puri, beaten up badly, was rushed to the hospital. The priest has bruises and abrasions all over his body, a private TV channel reported.
Police arrested the assailant, 52-year-old Sergio Gouveia. He’s charged with assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. The cops are yet to ascertain whether this was simply a personal attack or one prompted by hate crime. The attacker allegedly screamed, “this is my neighbourhood.”
There are those who linked the incident to a tweet by US President Donald Trump a few days ago, while targeting four democratic congresswomen including Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born US citizen, saying they could rather “go back” to where they came from. “Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” Trump tweeted. ==Agencies, IHN-NN