Hindu priest wins lawsuit against N.Y. temple, gets $2.3 million

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 31 December 2010, 00:56 Hrs
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New York: A Hindu priest won a suit filed at a federal court in Brooklyn after he had been forced to work for years as a virtual indentured servant at a Queens temple and also got a compensation of $2.3 million, reports News India Times.

Devendra Shukla, the priest who hails from Uttar Pradesh, testified against his former employees Sat Prakash Sharma and his wife Geeta, claiming he was paid slave wages and forced to perform janitorial work in addition to his spiritual duties. The Sharmas are expected to appeal the ruling. "I have received justice," said Shukla, 34, after the eight-day trial. "I am hopeful that I will see my wife and children soon - it's almost 10 years that I have not seen my wife and children in India."

In addition to running the Hindu temple, Sat Sharma also owns a liquor license and a building where a strip bar, 'Da Shark Lounge', operates in New York. The jury found that the Sharmas had illegally forced Shukla to minister to worshipers in the temple from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and also work in their construction business as a loader, a pipe cutter, an electrician, and a painter. After hiring the priest, the Sharmas confiscated his passport and paid him only $50 a week - for a grand total of just $21,000 over seven years.

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