FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sadhana Calls On NYPD to Investigate Attack of Swami Harish Chander Puri as a Hate Crime


July 21, 2019

Contact: Aminta Kilawan-Narine


Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

Sadhana Calls On NYPD to Investigate Attack of Swami Harish Chander Puri as a Hate Crime

Bigotry and xenophobia does not distinguish between Hindus and Muslims, or black or brown skin. When the US President targets immigrants and refugees and encourages chants of "send her back" at rallies, this results in real harm inflicted on our communities.

We are deeply heartbroken by reports of a brutal attack on Swami Harish Chander Puri Ji, priest of the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple in Glen Oaks, Queens, NY. Swami Puri Ji was attacked on Thursday at 11am by a man who reportedly screamed "this is my neighborhood." Just a few weeks ago, Queens was declared the nation’s most diverse large county according to a new study of 2017 census data. It is deplorable that in a place as diverse as Queens, such an atrocity can occur. 

Thankfully, Swami Puri Ji is recovering, and is praying for the man who attacked him. We stand with this compassionate warm-hearted leader and the Shiv Shakti Peeth community, and invite all of our interfaith and community allies in the Queens / New York City area to do so as well.

We, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, and the undersigned community partners and faith leaders, call upon the New York Police Department to conduct a swift investigation of this brutal attack against such a loving leader. The remarks uttered by Swami Puri Ji’s attacker are a blatant example of hate speech. Thus, we urge the NYPD to investigate this matter as a hate crime. 

May justice be served, and may love prevail over this hate we are seeing here and all over the country. We all belong here! 

oṃ dyauḥ shāntir-antarikṣaṃ shāntiḥ
pṛthivī shāntir-āpaḥ shāntir-oṣadhayaḥ shāntiḥ
vanaspatayaḥ shāntir-vishvedevāḥ shāntir-brahma shāntiḥ
sarvaṃ shāntiḥ shāntir-eva shāntiḥ sā mā shāntiredhi
Oṃ shāntiḥ shāntiḥ shāntiḥ
-- Yajur Veda

Unto The Heavens Be Peace,
Unto The Sky And The Earth Be Peace.
Peace Be Unto The Water,
Unto The Herbs And Trees Be Peace.
Unto All The Gods Be Peace,
Unto Brahma And Unto All Be Peace.
And May We Realize That Peace.
Om. Peace, Peace, Peace.

Aminta Kilawan-Narine, Sunita Viswanath, Davanie Singhroy, Samir Durvasula, Nikhil Mandalaparthy, Udit Thakur and Gautham Reddy
Executive Board of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

Community and Faith-Based Signatories (So far):

Pandit Manoj Jadubans, Spiritual Leader, Shaanti Bhavan Mandir

Ravina Vibart, Sadhana advisory board member and leader of Shaanti Bhavan Mandir

Pandit Mahendranauth Doobay, Bhavaanee Maa Mandir INC, Brooklyn 

Pratima Doobay, Sadhana resident pandita and community activist 

Pandit Tillackdharry Seerattan, Shri Devi Mandir, Jamaica NY

Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Saraswati, Ma Yogashakti International Mission

Hemant Wadhwani, Hindu American Seva Communities 

Pandit Ganeshwar Ramsahai, Hindu spiritual leader 

Himanshu "Heems" Suri, Artist/Activist

Shrestha Singh, Sadhana advisory board member and Hindu community leader

Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Sadhana advisory board member and Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College

Shana Sippy, Assistant Professor of Religion at Centre College, and Research Associate and Co-Director of The Religious Diversity in MN Initiative, Carleton College

Dr. Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College

Pandita Varuna Padma Sahabir, Hindu community leader

Dr. Satish Prakash, Maharshi Dayananda Gurukul

Vijah Ramjattan, Sadhana advisory board member and Founder and President, United Madrassi Association

Pandit Satish Deo, Hindu priest 

Swami Shiveshwarananda, Administrator, American Sevashram Sangha

Shekar Krishnan, Jackson Heights Hindu community activist

Dave Kutayiah, Chairman, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & The Shakti Mission; Adjunct Professor, School of Business at Mercy College

Chandra Ramsammy, Secretary, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & President of The Shakti Mission

Perley Kutayiah, President, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple

Zaheer Gobindpersaud, Co-Treasurer, The Shakti Mission

Parbatti Kalu, Board Member, The Shakti Mission

Anita Kutayiah – Founder & Board Member - The Shakti Mission

Inram Kalu, Board Member, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple

Hilda Thamman, Board Member, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & The Shakti Mission

Rob Kutayiah, Board Member, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & The Shakti Mission

Ron Rashid, Member, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & The Shakti Mission

Uvika Kutayiah, Board Member, The Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple & The Shakti Mission

Vikas Menon, Advisory Board Member Kundiman and Sadhana member

Amit Lucia Mehta, Member, Board of Directors, First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY, and Sadhana member

John Thatamanil, Sadhana advisory board member and Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions at Union Theological Seminary

Swami Vedanand Saraswati, Spiritual Head Arya Samaj South Africa

Lori Narine, President, SHEA Charity, Floral Park, NY

Pandit Dipak A. Rambharose, Hindu Spiritual Leader

Kathie Noga, Hindu Blogger, Shri Gaayatri Mandir Musician & Board Member of Minneapolis Theosophical Society 

Roli Khare, Hindu community activist, attorney, and board member at SABANY

Sri Raja Gopal Bhattar, Sri Vaishnava Pandit

Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, Associate Professor in South Asia Studies, Wellesley College, Wellesley MA

The Rev. Kaji S. Dousa, Senior Pastor, Park Avenue Christian Church

The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

The Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Executive Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith assembly on homelessness and housing

Simran Jeet Singh, Sikh Community Leader

The Rev. Dr. Clyde Kuemmerle, Executive Director, Ecclesia Ministries of New York

Rev. Dr. Karyn Carlo, American Baptist Churches

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor -Religion Coalition

Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary

Rev. Dr. Samuel Cruz Trinity Lutheran Church

Dr. Mohamed Hack, Muslim Community Leader

Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker, Senior Minister, Fort Washington Collegiate Church

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun magazine

Rabbi Hara Person, Central Conference of American Rabbis 

Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Debbie Almontaser, Muslim Community Network

Aniqa Nawabi, Muslim Community Network

Jonathan Soto, Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Union Theological Society

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Naheed Samadi Bahram, Program Director, Women for Afghan Women

David Aviles, United Clergy Task Force

Daisy Khan, Executive Director, Women's Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality (WISE)

Rev. Rafael Reyes, Ph.D, Assistant Professor in Theology and Religious Studies, Director of Information Literacy and Library Services; Co-editor, Journal of World Christianity, New York Theological Seminary

Afaf Nashar, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations-NY

Rabbi Dr. Barat Ellman

S.Q.Masood, Centre for Peace Studies, India

Ahmed Mohamed, Council on American Islamic Relations-NY

Rabbi Justus Baird, Shalom Hartman Institute

Masuda Sultan, Founding board member, Women for Afghan Women 

Dr. Naeem Baig, Moderator, Religions for Peace - USA

Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Trustee, Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations

Garnett R. Losak, Director of Congregational Life, First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Sunny Jain, Artist/Activist

Ahsan Khan, National President, Indian American Muslim Council

The Rev. Bishop Dr. Raymond H. Rufen-Blanchette, Chairman, The Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice

Barza Diaz, Director of NY Chapter, Muslims for Progressive Values

The Rev. Marie A. Tatro, Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

Annetta Seecharan, Executive Director, Chhaya CDC

Russ Jennings, host of Love in a Dangerous Time podcast

Martha Eddy, Advisory Council, Micah Institute

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis , Director, Kairos Center; Co-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

Amina Mohamed Darwish, Muslim Community Leader

Jahajee Sisters: Empowering Indo-Caribbean Women

Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, Associate Dean, Jewish Theological Seminary

The Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell, Rector, Church of the Ascension, NYC

Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Senior Vice President, Auburn Seminary

Ani Zonneveld, Founder and President, Muslims for Progresive Values

Dr. Diane Steinman, Director, NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

Rev. Thia Reggio, Pastor, Astoria First Presbyterian Church

Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister, Justice & Local Church Ministries, The United Church of Christ

Stosh Cotler, Chief Executive Officer, BEND THE ARC: A Jewish Partnership for Justice & BEND THE ARC Jewish Action

Rabbi Sharon Brous, Senior/ Founding Rabbi, IKAR

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, CA

Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, President/Senior Pastor, Latino Pastoral Action Center

Eugena Simpson, Co-Chair Community Coalition on Mental Health

Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, Interfaith Center of New York

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Lester Bronstein, President, New York Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, Union Temple of Brooklyn

Mohamed Q. Amin, LGBTQ & Immigrant Rights Activist and Founder of Caribbean Equality Project

John Choe, Flushing Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Secretary, Flushing Interfaith Council

Asian American Federation

Rev. Joel A. Gibson, Director of the Micah Institute 

Dr. Gwendolyn Hadley-Hall, Associate Pastor Christ Temple United Baptist Church

Rabbi Bob Kaplan, Director, The Center for Community Leadership, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York

The South Asian Bar Association of New York

Lisa Sharon Harper, President and Founder,

Rev. Dr. LaKeesha Walrond, President, New York Theological Seminary

Dr. Pankaj Jain, Associate Professor, Dept of Philosophy and Religion

Co-chair, India Initiative Group, University of North Texas

Andrea Pinkney, Associate Professor, McGill University

Dr. Jennifer B. Saunders, author, Imagining Religious Communities: Transnational Hindus and Their Narrative Performances (OUP, 2019)

Nathaniel Roberts, Research Fellow, Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen

Loriliai Biernacki, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder

Dr. Brian A. Hatcher, Packard Chair of Theology, Tufts University, Medford, MA

Dr. T. Ramachandran, Director, Religion and Public Engagement
Associate Teaching Professor, Department for the Study of Religions, Wake Forest University

Linda Hess, Senior Lecturer Emerita, Stanford University

Joel Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Williams College

Professor Rita D. Sherma, PhD | Director & Professor, The Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA

Rev. Jon Paul Sydnor, PhD, Emmanuel College, Boston

Rev. Micah Bucey, Minister, Judson Memorial Church

Dr. Chad Bauman, Professor of Religion, Butler University

Joel Bordeaux, Visiting Scholar, Mattoo Center for India Studies, Stony Brook University

Antoinette (Anita) Denapoli, Associate Professor of Religion, TCU

Andrew J. Nicholson, Associate Professor of Hinduism and Indian Intellectual History, Stony Brook University