A Hindu priest wearing religious attire was attacked near a temple in New York’s Queens Area last week, United States news channel PIX 11 has reported. Swami Harish Chander Puri said he was repeatedly assaulted by a man, who approached him from behind, around 11 am on July 18. He suffered bruises all over his body, including his face.
“He was very angry,” the priest told the news channel. “I am in a little pain. Sometimes people have no control.”
Some of the devotees at the temple alleged Puri was targeted because of his dress. They claimed the attacker cried out “this is my neighborhood” during the assault. A New York Police Department spokesperson said Puri was punched and hit with an object such as an umbrella.
The police arrested 52-year-old Sergio Gouveia in connection with the attack. He’s being charged with assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. The police are looking into whether the attack should be investigated as a hate crime, the channel said.