Federal Brokers Descend On Hindu Temple In Robbinsville After Lawsuit Alleges Human Trafficking, Compelled Labor

2021-05-12 10:38:44

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — A neighborhood palace of peace became the location of struggling, in accordance with a brand new lawsuit filed towards the biggest Hindu temple within the nation. FBI brokers raided a Robbinsville, New Jersey, Hindu temple over allegations of pressured labor. The lawsuit says tons of of staff from India suffered torturous therapy.

Eyewitness Information is informed that there are nonetheless staff on the property Tuesday night time, however that many did go away when supplied by federal brokers after they arrived this morning.

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A “masterpiece of beautiful Indian design and workmanship” is how the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is described on its web site.

Early Tuesday, federal brokers entered these marble partitions. They arrived within the wake of a civil lawsuit filed towards the huge Hindu temple that alleges labor and immigration regulation violations.

“They had been introduced in as non secular staff, however they weren’t non secular staff they usually definitely weren’t volunteers,” Patricia Kakaleck, an lawyer at Kakaleck Legislation, stated.

Kakaleck represents six earlier temple staff in a go well with that includes no less than 200 low-caste males allegedly lured from India to New Jersey.

“That they had their passports taken and their visas confiscated,” Kakaleck stated.

Kakaleck says her purchasers labored lengthy hours with out days off between 2018 and 2020, performing arduous handbook labor and earned about $1.20 an hour. They lived in trailers on the property and weren’t permitted to depart.

“They had been informed that in the event that they left that they might be topic to being picked up by the police,” Kakaleck stated.

Her agency describes this as one of many largest pressured labor circumstances in many years and seeks again wages in accordance to New Jersey’s minimal wage.

Eyewitness Information acquired an announcement from the communications agency working with BAPS Robbinsville: “We had been first made conscious of the accusations this morning. We’re taking them very severely and are totally reviewing the problems raised.”

Throughout the highway is a worship heart for the Sikh neighborhood. Sikander Ranu says his faith differs extensively from the BAPS sect of Hinduism, together with that Sikhism doesn’t acknowledge the caste system, which he feels might have made these staff extra susceptible.

“We imagine in a single god and that every one males are created equal,” Ranu stated.

Whereas the temple seems full, Eyewitness Information is informed that these staff had been a part of varied ongoing building tasks.

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The FBI wouldn’t affirm what motion they took on the property.

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