Indian American business owner turns target of hate crime

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Indian American Rajesh Patnaik’s Indianapolis business was vandalized with hate messages all over it.

Neighbors are now helping to clean and cover up the hurtful messages that were doodled onto windows, walls and doors, referencing Hindu gods, traitors and Satanists.

According to a WTHR report, the vandals used spray paint to write the hateful messages, spread grease on the building and set a fire outside a back door.

“It is shocking, it hurts. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’ve lived in the U.S. for a little over nine years,” Patnaik told WTHR.

“The person probably knows something, maybe something superficially, about Hinduism and they probably don’t like the fact that I am practicing Hinduism,” he added.

Neighboring business owners know Patnaik as a great guy, friendly and helpful and are trying to understand why anyone would do this.

“It’s just hate. People don’t understand his religion. They don’t understand these people. He’s done nothing to hurt anybody,” Steve Carnal told WTHR.

“It makes me sad, how little people can be, that their minds are so small,” said Inna Prikhodko, who owns the business next door and came from Russia 30 years ago.

But Patnaik said he’s not scared, he is just rattled and thinking now.

“It is probably somebody who doesn’t understand that people of different faiths can coexist. That is the only thing I can think of,” he said. “I don’t know of anyone would want to do this.”

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