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Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla says he’s received letters threatening him and his family

Bhalla, who is a practicing member of the Sikh faith, says the letters had hate speech towards Muslims and misidentified him as Muslim.

Naomi Yané

Oct 18, 2023, 9:32 PM

Updated 276 days ago


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla had to beef up security after receiving death threats going as far back as 2018.
The mayor tells News 12 New Jersey that in total, he's received at least three letters delivered to his home, and they have gotten progressively more threatening.
Not only has his life been threatened, but so have the lives of his wife and children.
"It's unacceptable, in and of itself, but when it crosses the line and impacts my family that makes it all the more concerning to me,” Bhalla says. "It indicated that they knew where I lived, they knew the car I drove, they knew where I went to work,” the mayor says.
Bhalla is in his second term as the mayor of Hoboken. He says his family started receiving letters as far back as 2018.
The first letter the mayor received asked him to resign. Shortly after, a second letter threatened his life. In the third letter, the mayor said the author gave him a final warning - there were threats not just to kill him, but also threats to kill his wife and kill his children. Bhalla says the recent rounds of letters were jolting with an increase in the severity of the language and of the threats used.
"It was that kind of a letter that really impacted us as a family...with the help of law enforcement they were very helpful in ensuring our safety,” he says.
The mayor said the letters also had hate speech towards Muslims and misidentified him as a Muslim.
"I'm Sikh America, although hate speech against any community, even if misidentified out of ignorance, is completely unacceptable,” Bhalla says.
Since the letters first started, other people in the mayor's circle have also received letters or packages that were harassing in nature including his older brother and two councilmembers. "Some had racial tropes, others were sexually explicit, charges were filed against the person identified as the perp,” Bhalla says.
The mayor says he is speaking out now because he says political violence is trending and he wants to make it clear to bad actors that this is unacceptable.
The investigation into who sent the recent round of letters continues.

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