An Indian restaurant in Sante Fe, New Mexico, owned by a Sikh, has been broken in and destroyed with hate speech on the walls, a media report said Tuesday.
The damage done to the India Palace restaurant is estimated at $ 100,000, local Santa Fe reporter said, adding that the vandalization is being investigated by local police and the FBI.
The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) has condemned the incident.
"This type of hatred and violence is unacceptable and swift measures must be taken to ensure the security of all Americans," said Kiran Kaur Gill, SALDEF CEO.
According to the local daily, tables were knocked over, glassware stacked on the floor, wine racks emptied, a statue of a goddess beheaded, and computers stolen.
The vandals also turned and destroyed the food warmers while the reception area was destroyed, the plates smashed, and the kitchen completely destroyed.
"I went to the kitchen, I saw everything and I thought wait what? What's going on here?" Owner Baljit Singh told Santa Fe reporter. "White Power", "Trump 2020", "go home" and far worse, walls, doors, counters and every other available surface were sprayed on.
"Some sentences contained threats of violence and derogatory racial insults," the daily said.
"Santa Fe is a peaceful city, and the Sikh community has lived here since the 1960s, beautifully integrated," said SALDEF board member Simran Singh, who lives just a few minutes from the restaurant.
"Tensions have increased recently with the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement and the removal of statues related to Spanish colonialists in the area who have committed a series of atrocities," he said.
"Still, there is a lot of love and support in the city, and in my experience, our neighbors love and appreciate us the way we love and appreciate them," he added.
SALDEF said there has been an unprecedented increase in hate crimes, including the April 29 incident in which a Sikh American, Lakhwant Singh, was brutally attacked by a man identified as Eric Breeman in Lakewood, Colorado.
Lakhwant Singh has been ordered to "return to your country" while under attack. No formal hate crime charges were brought against the attacker.