Expressing shock and sorrow at the death of an Indian man Sunando Sen last week, Indian-Americans have asked the Department of Justice and FBI to separately track hate crimes against various religious communities in the country.
“Such a violent and hateful attack on any individual, especially because of religious hatred is completely unconscionable in any society” said Suhag Shukla, executive director and legal counsel for the Washington-headquartered Hindu American Foundation (HAF).
“We need the Department of Justice (DOJ) to have a separate Hindu category to track anti Hindu hate crimes and urge Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to implement to raise the profile,” Hindu American Seva Communities (HASC) said in a statement.
Police have arrested 31-year-old Erika Menendez in connection with the case in New York, and charged her with second-degree murder as a hate crime.
The defendant reportedly targeted 46-year old Sen out of hatred for Hindus and Muslims.
Ms Menendez pushed an unsuspecting Sen on to the subway tracks in front of an oncoming train at a Queens station as he was waiting on the platform on the night of December 27.
Although not frequently reported, this incident is not an isolated event, Mr Shukla said.
“Though there is a high level of acceptance of our community in America, sometimes we see gaps through intolerance and violence. Unfortunately, innocent people are impacted when individuals turn against any group of people,” HASC said.
Urging Department of Justice and FBI to track Hindu hate crimes separately, HASC expresses grief over the tragic death of Sunando Sen and concern over xenophobia against Hindus, as well as Muslims and Sikhs.
“Many of these heinous acts are under-reported, and if reported are not tracked as hate crimes,” it added.
“We hope these heinous acts against our community will not go unnoticed and the death of Dr Sen will not be in vain. Just as the community improves its own security infrastructures we urge DOJ and FBI to track these hate crimes separately for appropriate data collection and action,” HASC said.