Baljit Singh was still reeling from the sight of his restaurant being trashed in a racist attack this week, but the show of support his family had received from across the country buoyed his spirit.

He thanked a group of friends and state leaders who gathered Wednesday outside India Palace, which had been destroyed in the break-in Monday, to denounce racism and express solidarity.

“So don’t worry, I’m still here,” Singh told the small rally. “I’m still working for you [to] bring you good food.”

Unsolicited GoFundMe efforts have raised more than $120,000 for the Sikh family, enough to cover repairs of the damaged kitchen and dining areas, and replace the bottles of wine, tables, glassware and dishes that were shattered.

Current online campaigns have raised $71,000, and a campaign that fellow Indian restaurant Paper Dosa just finished raised almost $57,000.

A few people launched online fundraisers without asking the Singhs, who decided to let them do it, said Cameron Brown, a friend of the family, in an interview before the rally.

A contractor will begin repair work Saturday, Brown said.

The Singhs expect to have enough of the repairs completed in a week and will then begin to offer takeout and delivery, Brown said. They can’t open for dining until their chef returns from India, he added. The chef is unable to leave because of that country’s surging COVID-19 outbreak.

Police have called the destruction of the restaurant a hate crime because of the racist graffiti spray-painted inside.

Santa Fe police Chief Andrew Padilla said there is some video footage of the crime that will be released publicly in the hope that someone can identify the vandal.

The incident also prompted state Attorney General Hector Balderas to renew his call for the Legislature to revise anti-domestic terrorism and hate crime statutes as well as fund a special unit in his office to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

“Domestic terrorism harms individual Americans and intimidates entire communities, and we must immediately address this problem before it gets worse,” Balderas said in a statement. “I stand with the victims of this heinous attack, and will continue to fight to protect New Mexican families from this violence.”

State officials who spoke at Wednesday’s event said they were appalled by the attack on India Palace. A few noted that sometimes it takes an ugly crime to bring people together.

“This deplorable act is not New Mexico,” said State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard. “So today I hope you receive a message from your fellow New Mexicans that we will not tolerate these acts. That is not us.”

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State Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, expressed sympathy for the Singhs but also for a criminal who could be driven by such hatred.

“How is it that we have this kind of pain in our community that folks want to express that in such a hateful way?” Romero said.

Brown said people from as far away as Chicago and New York have joined locals in offering to help, which has comforted the Singhs after the disturbing incident.

On the flip side, some people are still saying in social media posts they believe the break-in and vandalism were faked, Brown said.

“Just the normal, Trump-supporting people that say it’s a hoax,” he said.

The words “Trump 2020” were spray-painted along with racial epithets across walls and paintings.

One man posted on social media that the attack was against the former owner, but the person he named was actually a former manager, Brown said.

Brown said he was able to pressure the man into taking down his posts.

The ferocity of the attack is hard to shake, Singh said.

He said he’ll never forget seeing all the glassware shattered, the hateful graffiti defacing the expensive paintings, the computers gone and the sense of violation.

Motioning to his head, Singh said, “I’m still not feeling good, still not feeling well.”

But he said he appreciates the outpouring of sympathy that will help his family recover, both financially and emotionally.

“I promise I’m coming back,” he said.

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(28) comments

Nicole Panter Dailey

I'd like to contribute to the gofundme, but can't find them...

Dan Three

Mr. K when you let your angry emotions shade your logic it's very difficult to take you seriously. So you just go ahead and lash out and at anyone that disagrees with your point of view, get it off your chest. You mentioned colleagues, are they just as angry?

Jim Klukkert

Dan Three- You want to avoid discussing your statement "If racism is so bad in this country why do they have to make up false claims about it?"

If I said something stupid, I would want to apologize. A person of lesser morals might go to distracting critics. That would be you apprarently

Just to be clear. The history of racist oppression and violence has been exaggerated, right? The history of racist oppression and violence does not continue today, and today's incidents are likely exaggerations or fabrications, ¿que no?

And you are a white guy, right? With zip sense of reality of other socio-economic or ethnic groups, and you want to run down Bubba Wallace.

Lord Almighty.

Jim Klukkert

Correction: "If racism is so bad in this country why do they have to make up false claims about it?"

If I said something that stupid, to wit: "If racism is so bad in this country why do they have to make up false claims about it?" I would apologize. A person of lesser morals might go to distracting critics. That would be you apparently, Dan Three.

BOB SCHWARTZ

IF IT HAD BEEN ARCADE NEWS, no one would have cared

Emily Koyama

I'm concerned that any videos the Police have will show shadowy, blurry, masked individuals. But other identifiers, such as distinctive clothing, or logos on clothing, may help bring forward others who are willing to tip off the Police. It shouldn't be necessary, but maybe a big reward will help, too.

Steven Salemi

For around $1000 one can buy four HD “Arlo” video security cameras that generate very sharp images. Every business owner should have them. I do.

Khal Spencer

The fact that the police have some video is excellent news, as is the fact that enough money has been raised to fix the restaurant.

Sometimes it takes ugliness like this to wake us up to the fact that we should have a zero tolerance policy for political violence. I hope whoever did this is found and prosecuted. Its also time for other people to put down their chains, pick axes, and ropes and let the political process work.

Dan Three

One more thing, no one is saying the horrific murder of George Floyd wasn't real and that cop probably deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison, I don't believe in the death penalty, the state should not have the right to take a life. But I will say that cop had a history of violence and had at least 10 complaints against him. His targets were people of all races. Once again the system failed us all. In fact one of his cases was overseen by prosecutor Amy Klobuckar who declined to prosecute him.

Dan Three

Judging by the comments again liberal intolerance rears its ugly head if you have a different opinion or you question something you are part of the problem. The intolerant left will label you and stereotype you. Isn't that the same thing ignorant racists do? Just asking!

Jim Klukkert

Dan Three- Earlier today you wrote "If racism is so bad in this country why do they have to make up false claims about it?"

I think it safe to assume you group me with "the intolerant left."

Speaking for my colleagues, when you write that anyone needs to add fiction by “mak[ing] up false claims” regarding the history of racist oppression enforced with racist violence, no one is feeling the need to "label you and stereotype you."

You do that so well yourself.

Segregation Never Ended, and Racist State & Vigilante Violence & Threats are the the Border Patrol Enforcing that Division.

Perhaps Dan Three, you might catch up with my level of ignorance by googling ‘Lynching,’ for the lists of thousands so victimized. Perhaps you might consider how that would terrorize a community. Perhaps you could look into what happened in Tulsa in 1921. Perhaps too, you should not out yourself as a promulgated of racist lies regarding Bubba Wallace.

Or perhaps all you care about is scoring Political Points on behalf of the Liar-In-Chief, in the same manner as Trump, with LIES.

Swore I was not going after you today, but your shameless attacks and falsehoods deserve rebuke.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Mr. Klukkert, you actually make some valid points. Still, in a previous post, you wrongfully accused me of posting untruth. Today, you're accusing others -however rightfully- of practicing Deception. Sir, is calling people liars, your thing? Your written Coup de Grace?

Remember Mr. Klukkert, Truth, most-often is quite disturbing.

Jim Klukkert

Prince Michael Jauregui- I have to admit that I cannot recall either your post or mine. I do sometimes make mistakes. I do make great effort at accuracy in my comments.

If this disagreement is important to you, I will be glad to revisit the issue.

If you are more inclined at this point to let it go, I assure you I will redouble my efforts in accuracy and veracity

I call 'em as I see 'em, and proudly oppose Systemic Racism, the War On the Poor, and the Destruction of Our Planet for any reason, but particularly for Profit of the Few.

Admittedly, I on occasion let the passion for these causes creep into my comments, generally a poor practice.

Thank you, Prince Michael Jauregui, for your civil tone. Regards!

Stefanie Beninato

More than monuments, the comments of Michael Grimler and Dan Three are what need to be changed--trying to ignore a racist hate crime by saying it was faked in some way is indicative of warped mindset IMHO--just like ignorant people actually believe that George Floyd and the police were all actors and they're alive and well somewhere. What a load of horse pukey!

Emily Koyama

Their comments clearly express that they find the vandalism abhorrent, and that they support the owners of the India Palace.

The issue is, who did this, and why. I don't believe any rational, thinking people suspect it was a "hoax", in the sense that the owners may have been behind it, to garner sympathy or financial gain. That theory is extreme, to say the least.

But, for someone who wants to gin up anger and negativity towards Trump supporters, well, that is entirely possible. And, since the facts as to who did this, and why they did it, are not known yet, it is entirely reasonable to posit different theories on who the suspects might be.

Thinking "outside the box" may help catch and prosecute these lowlifes.

Unfortunately, many in Santa Fe, such as yourself, are so vested in the "Trumpers did it!!!" narrative, that they are putting their heads in the sand, unwilling to accept other possibilities.

Jim Klukkert

Emily Koyama- The larger issue is WHEN ARE WE GOING TO CONFRONT A NATIONAL HISTORY OF OPPRESSION OF & VIOLENCE AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR.

Without that history, this attack would be the isolated act of a lunatic. But with that history, it is a terrorist attack that threatens more of the same or worse for people of color.

I do pray the culprits are caught, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I do know that will not be the end of this sort of racist terror. That will only come with Justice for People of Color, and the end of the War on the Poor.

Robert Christie

Now, Jim Klukkert gets right to the point. Americans, including most who consider themselves to not be racists, still fail to acknowledge the endemic racism that is the (sad) legacy of our nation. Who among us can honestly count ourselves as an active anti-racist? Far too few.

Michael Grimler

A "warped" mind?

First, I never said it was faked.

That said, if no one had ever faked a crime, especially one labeled as "racist" and a "hate crime," I might accept that. But, did you see the dozens and dozens of false flag/fake hate crimes perpetrated against American society at that website? If not, you should. If you did, then I would hope that you would at least consider the fact that this DOES happen, and it's not beyond the realm of possibility that it was, in fact, faked. That's a LONG way to labeling it as such, however.

The fact is that it happens, with startling depth and breadth. Is it really so hard to question the veracity of such crimes as what happened at the restaurant? No, given the facts, it is not.

I take personal offense to your characterization that I am ignoring a possible crime that looks as if it was motivated by hatred. Far from it. After being in law enforcement for a number of years, I tend to look at crimes being crimes...who cares what the motivation was. This was pure vandalism and destruction of personal property, period. It makes no sense to me to label something a "hate" crime, as if the motivation makes it more serious, it doesn't.

Finally...in the future, Ms. Beninato, please avoid the personal negative characterizations in your comments. It really detracts from your credibility and makes you come across as a hateful, bitter person.

Robert Christie

No good cop ignores motivation, which is the essence of crime. Only true accidents are unmotivated.

Michael Grimler

Robert, you are right. However, whatever the motive is, it doesn't make the crime any more worse than the act itself. Murder is murder, period. A murder motivated by hatred is no worse than plain old murder...a human being is still dead.

Given that, what is the benefit of labeling a crime a "hate" crime other than to express hatred for the hatred?

Let's use murder as example...should the punishment for a conviction of a murder motivated by hate be more severe than a murder committed by jealousy, or sexual lust, or just for the fun of it, as some do. If yes, I'd like to hear the reasoning.

Jim Klukkert

Michael Grimler- First my thanks to you for your call for civility in these pages, i.e. 'personal negative characterizations.' If we can control the passions of our beliefs, perhaps we can actually get to some resolutions in our discussions.

Second: Hate crimes. I believe that Hate Crimes have victims beyond those directly and physically affected. These victims are part of the community of the original victim who was directly and physically impacted. The impact is the spreading of fear that other members of that same community will face similar crimes; that the Perpetrator's Hatred of that community is shared by other villains.

This can easily be seen in the many Lynchings, predominantly in the South but as far north as Duluth, Minnesota, and as far west as California. Punctuated with Race Massacres in Tulsa [1921] and Rosewood, Florida [1923], this campaign of terror led entire communities to uproot and move away.

So Mr. Grimler, I believe the motivation of a Hate Crime recommends additional puntative sanctions, for a Hate Crime is immediately against one person, but also against an entire group of people.

Thank you.

Emily Koyama

What about a crime spree targeting exclusively women, or children, or the elderly, or mentally challenged individuals? Should those "groups" in the community not qualify for hate crime victim status as well?

Khal Spencer

We were debating a hate crime statute in Hawai'i when I lived there. My opposition to it (and fellow Democrat Governor Ben Cayetano's objection) was that convicting someone of a hate crime means two things: one, you are successfully reading a person's mind two, that you are correct in ascribing hate as the primary motive and finally, you are trying on motive rather than act. To me, these muddied the water.

The problem with the lynchings, burnings, beatings, and other offenses used against PoC was primarily that the perpetrators got away with it and that encouraged others to act out. If perps were prosecuted as successfully for crimes motivated by hate or racism as crimes done for other reasons, there would be no need for hate crime legislation as anyone who killed, beat, burned, raped or carried out any other criminal act would be promptly put behind bars. Instead, all white juries acquitted, etc. That was the real problem.

If someone punches me in the face because I am wearing a Buffalo Bills hat, it hurts just as much as if that person punches me in the face because I am wearing a Protect Your Right to Arm Bears t-shirt, or if I am punched because I am a big nosed Mediterranean guy who looks like I could have gotten right off the boat. I don't care why someone doesn't like me. I do care when they act out on it and that's what has to stop. The best way is that violence, regardless of motive, is treated for what it is and that all-NY Giants juries do not acquit because I have a Bills cap on.

Wide Right to you,

Khal

Jim Klukkert

Truly horrific that in the city of the holy faith of ?St. Francis that this sort of terror attack has occurred.

My heart aches when I consider the pain and trauma beautiful innocents suffer at the hands of truly sick monsters.

Our area is truly miraculous, this story provides ample evidence of that. India Palace will rise again, and all immigrants, as well as people of color, will know that they are welcome in New Mexico, despite the actions of a minority of truly sick folks.

Our area is also very much part of a divided land: the cultivated and willful ignorance regarding racism reflected in the first two comments on this page certainly demonstrate that sad fact. I will not soil the outpouring of love and good will for the Singh family and those that work at this fine restaurant with any refutation of those comments.

Dan Three

Let's hope we get to the bottom of this horrible crime, but I question why Mr. Brown says it's just the usual Trump supporters claiming it was a setup? I guess it's ok to label people on one side but not the other. I would hope people are aware of Jussie Smollett, Bubba Wallace and the young lady from MSU who claimed a shoe lace still in it's package was a noose, just to name a few. We could go all the way back to the

Tawana Brawley hoax many years ago that turned New York upside down. Anyone see a pattern here? Perhaps we should ban all shoe laces and spray paint and find the statue of the person who invented shoe laces and tear it down. If racism is so bad in this country why do they have to make up false claims about it?

Michael Grimler

Tragic...

But, let's just say I have more than a bit of skepticism about this. It wouldn't be the first time a false flag has been perpetrated. It will be interesting to see the video analysis.

www.fakehatecrimes.org

Khal Spencer

I'm holding off on assuming anything, Mike, but there is this, which has mysteriously escaped the notice of the New Mexican:

"...Additionally, Deputy Chief Paul Joye tells SFR police are considering possible connections between this incident and the vandalism that defaced the Plaza obelisk. Police believe both crimes occurred in the same time frame overnight on Sunday, June 21. According to Joye, police are collecting surveillance videos from the area, but have not released any information about potential suspects or leads..."

https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2020/06/24/sfpd-calls-india-palace-attack-a-hate-crime/

David Brown

It will be interesting indeed

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