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September 25, 2023 4:43 pm

Indian-American legislator in Michigan introduces bill to identify defacing place of worship as hate crime

Washington, June 7

An Indian-American legislator in the US state of Michigan has introduced a bill to expand the definition of hate crime and include vandalisation of a place of worship in it.

Michigan State Representative Ranjeev Puri, whose parents migrated to the US from Amritsar in the 1970s, has also introduced a bill to establish the holidays of Diwali, Baisakhi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Lunar New Year as official state-recognised holidays in Michigan.

Into his second term as the State Representative, Puri is now the Michigan House Majority Whip, an influential position and has been advancing social issues.

“I have introduced a bill to make Diwali, Baisakhi and Eid-ul-Fitr holidays in Michigan. I have another bill that would expand the definition of hate crimes. So the original hate crime bill in Michigan was written in 1988 and has not been updated since. It’s been 35 years and so we are updating the definitions to be more inclusive,” Puri told PTI in an interview.

“If a religious institution such as a temple, mosque or a gurdwara is vandalised or desecrated, it is now going to be much easier to prosecute those people. There are a whole host of issues that we are tackling,” he said.

Puri’s parents immigrated to the US in 1970. His father was instrumental in establishing the first Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin.

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