Washington: In view of a sudden spurt in anti-Hindu hate crimes, which includes a series of vandalism incidents and hate graffiti, in a suburb of Washington, US authorities have announced a reward of USD 21,000 for information leading to arrest of those responsible for it.
According to local authorities in Virginia, since July 2014, there have been 17 reported cases of anti-Hindu graffiti and vandalism has occurred in Ashburn - near the Dallas International Airport - which over the last few years has seen a significant rise in Indian- American population, which is mainly attributed to emergence of the IT corridor here.
"A majority of the graffiti has been written in black marker on exercise stations, park benches, a pedestrian tunnel and community signs," the Loudon County Police said.
Graffiti like 'No Hindus allowed' and 'No Hindus, by order of Mosby's Rangers' written in black have appeared in the community. Indian-Americans living in the area said such notices have made them feel insecure.
"I find it very disturbing that there are individuals who are willing to destroy private property and spew hate against our Hindu neighbors," Virginia Delegate David Ramadan said on Friday after 200 Indian-Americans gathered at a community center to meet local officials and elected representatives.
"There is no room for such hate in our community," Ramadan said.
A large number of Indian nationals have bought houses, town homes and condos in this recently developed neighborhood.
"I was extremely encouraged by the community response to this event," said Virginia Attorney Jim Plowman.
"With continued citizen involvement, I'm confident we'll be able to put an end to these hateful acts and to see this to a just conclusion," he said.
The Brambleton Community Association, which is the most affected by the increase in hate crimes, recently announced that they were offering a USD 1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Loudoun County and several leaders of the Indian-American community stepped up at the meeting with an additional USD 20,000, bringing the total available reward to USD 21,000.
"I've been in this country for 14 years, and never once have I seen something like this or been exposed to something like this," Vidya Nair was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.
"Loudoun is so diverse. You don?t expect to see it here," she said.