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Indian-origin man pleads guilty to firebombing US anti-abortion office

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury of Madison, who was arrested from Boston’s International Airport in March, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause damage using fire or an explosive

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A 29-year-old man of Indian origin has pleaded guilty to firebombing a prominent anti-abortion group’s office in Wisconsin on Mother’s Day, May 8, last year, the Justice Department has said.

Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury of Madison, who was arrested from Boston’s International Airport in March, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause damage using fire or an explosive on December 1, the department said in a release on Friday (1).

Roychowdhury served as a research assistant while a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his degree in May 2022, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier this year.

On May 8 last year, law enforcement responded to an active fire at an office building in Madison and saw a broken mason jar with a lid and screw top burned black.

The police also saw a disposable lighter, another mason jar with the lid on, and a singed cloth tucked into the top.

According to the press release, the jar was about half full of a clear fluid that smelled like an accelerant. Outside of the building, someone spray-painted on one wall, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either,” and, on another wall, a large “A” with a circle around it and the number “1312.”

Indian-origin man pleads guilty to firebombing US anti-abortion office
Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury served as a research assistant while a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – Image Credit: Twitter

Prosecutors have accused Roychowdhury of efforts to “terrorise” and “intimidate” by vandalising and setting the offices of Wisconsin Family Action on fire.

During the investigation, law enforcement collected DNA from the scene of the attack and, in March 2023, identified Roychowdhury as a possible suspect and collected his DNA from the food he threw in the trash can.

Rowchowdhury was arrested at the Boston Logan International Airport in March after the DNA samples matched.
He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years.

According to the release, a sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 14, 2024.

(PTI)

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