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Popular Sikh-owned restaurant target of racist attack

KOAT Albuquerque logo KOAT Albuquerque 6/24/2020
graffiti on a wall © Cole Rehbein/Santa Fe Reporter

Vandals broke into a popular Sikh-owned restaurant in Santa Fe and caused thousands of dollars in damages, but the hateful racist messages they spray-painted on walls may have left the biggest sting.

a vase of flowers on a plant © Cole Rehbein/Santa Fe Reporter

When the owner of India Palace, Bait Singh, arrived at his restaurant on Monday to get ready for dinner service, he found his business torn apart with racial slurs painted all over the building.

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“White power,” “Trump 2020,” “go home,” and far worse were spray-painted on walls, doors, counters and any other available surface. Some phrases contained threats of violence and derogatory racial slurs. Tables were overturned, glassware was smashed into piles on the floor. The wine racks were emptied, a statue of a goddess was beheaded, and computers were stolen.

graffiti on a wall © Cole Rehbein/Santa Fe Reporter

Singh estimates the restaurant damages will cost about $100,000, and now the FBI is even helping.

The Sikh Coalition issued the following statement in the wake of the attack, “No community should ever experience this disgusting bigotry and racism. We expect New Mexico's elected officials, business owners, and faith leaders to join the Sikh community in unequivocally condemning this act of white supremacist hate. These racist acts are meant to divide us, but we are strongest when we stand together.”

a sign above a door © Cole Rehbein/Santa Fe Reporter

The owner of another Santa Fe restaurant put together a GoFundMe page to help the restaurant but it was later taken down after raising $50,000 dollars because they started receiving threats for helping the family.

At this time there is no word on a suspect or suspects in the vandalism but Santa Fe police said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime.

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