Hindu man sues Pa. condo association over religious symbol ban


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia man has launched a legal fight against his condo association over a Hindu symbol that they say violates regulations.

Akhilesh Tripathi, 64, has called the luxury Murano skyscraper home for nearly a decade, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported .

His daughter gifted him a toran blessed by a Hindu priest before the move, and the symbol has hung across his door ever since.

The toran is made of gold-colored metal chains, bells and multicolored balls of fabric. Tripathi said the symbol welcomes guests to his home and it is blessed with Lakshmiji, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

Tripathi filed a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination Wednesday, saying the Murano Condominium Association is now banning his toran as part of a new policy adopted Feb. 13.

The lawsuit said the policy regulates holiday regulations and religious symbols placed on front doors.

The lawsuit, however, says the policy permits certain religious symbols to be permanently attached to the door frame, such as the Jewish mezuzah. A mezuzah is a small narrow case containing a parchment that has writing of one of the most important prayers in the Jewish faith.

Tripathi said the association has threatened fines and suspension of his condo privileges if he didn’t remove his toran.

He says the symbol “is my upbringing and my deeply embedded religious belief.”

Tripathi’s lawsuit is seeking an injunction to stop the association from removing the toran and an undisclosed amount in damages.

The association’s attorney has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Tripathi says the Murano is still a “wonderful place to live,” but he believes a few people on the board are “narrow-minded.”

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