A statue of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was vandalised at a Hindu temple in New York by six unidentified persons, PTI reported on Friday. The incident occurred on August 16 outside the Shri Tulsi Mandir in South Richmond Hill area of the city.

This is the second time in two weeks that the statue was attacked. On August 3, an unidentified man had toppled it over, according to the New York Post.

Surveillance video showed a person hitting the statue with a sledgehammer, before smashing its head off and toppling it over.

The New York City Police said that the miscreants were all men approximately aged between 25 to 30 years, according to PTI.

The department had urged the public to assist in ascertaining their whereabouts and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

Media reports said that the police are investigating both incidents as possible hate crimes.

Lakhram Maharaj, the founder of the temple, said many in the Hindu community were afraid to go to the temple.

“To see them coming after us like this is very painful,” Maharaj told CBS News. “I want to know why they did it.”

New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar said that the police were taking the incident seriously.

“I have spoken with government leaders across the country,” Rajkumar said in a statement. “All are committed to re-doubling our efforts to combat anti-Hindu hate. We always knew that defeating hate would not be accomplished in one day, one week, or even one year.”

On Friday, the Consulate General of India in New York also condemned the vandalisation.

“We have taken up the matter with US authorities seeking thorough investigation so that those responsible for such despicable action are held accountable,” it said, according to PTI.

In February, an 8-foot-high Gandhi statue, located in Manhattan’s Union Square, was defaced by unknown persons.

In January 2021, a statue of Gandhi was found toppled in California’s Davis city. India had gifted the statue to Davis city in 2016.