A 17-year-old has been charged with burglary and mischief.

Louisville police arrested a juvenile white male as a suspect in the city’s Swaminarayan Temple vandalism. The 17-year-old was charged with burglary and mischief charges. The police believe he acted alone. It is up to the judge to decide whether a hate crime charge will also be added.

The Swaminarayan Temple is a Hindu place of worship. It was vandalized during the last week of January. The perpetrator wrote several messages of hate and a few messages promoting Christianity. Local police described the incident as a hate crime. The vandalism is thought to have occurred between January 27 to January 29. The perpetrator broke a window, leading to shattered glass on the temple floor. A poster depicting a religious figure was desecrated, and the walls of the temple were covered with phrases and black crosses. The phrases were Christian ones like “Jesus Is All Mighty” and “Jesus Is the Only Lord.” One chair of a temple had a knife plunged into it. Temple officials told the media the vandalism was not limited to a God but also a race or denigrating a skin color. The building in question takes in any number from 60 worshippers to 100 worshippers on Sundays. The former church has been used as a temple for approximately five years.

Steve Conrad, the Police Chief of Louisville Metro city, termed the vandalism as an example of a “hate crime.” During his press conference, he assured his audience police would be present in the temple premises on February 3 to ensure worshippers remain safe. In his press conference, the law enforcement official described the incident as a heartbreaking one and said the police would stand with the devout Hindu community on this incident and keep them safe. The police, he reiterated, will do everything to make Louisville a much safer metropolis.

The state’s politicians have expressed their support for the Hindu community. Governor Matt Bevin termed the vandalism incident unacceptable and reprehensible. He said this kind of incident would not be accepted in Kentucky and the United States, both of which celebrate religious liberty. The Governor, who belongs to the Republican Party, is the latest in a long line of officials, including Andy Beshear, the Attorney General of Kentucky, Greg Fischer, the Mayor of Louisville, and John Yarmuth, the U.S. Representative, to condemn the Swaminarayan Temple vandalism.

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