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Mahatma Gandhi statue vandalised in U.S.

A Mahatma Gandhi statue. File

A Mahatma Gandhi statue. File

Unknown miscreants have vandalised, broken and ripped from the base a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a park in the U.S. state of California, shocking and outraging Indian-Americans across the country, who have demanded that the officials investigate it as an incident of hate crime.

The 6-ft tall, 650-pound (294 kg) bronze statue of Gandhiji, in the Central Park of the City of Davis in Northern California, appeared to have been sawed off at the ankles and half its face was severed and missing, local Davis Enterprise daily reported.

The vandalised statue was found by a park employee in the early hours of morning of January 27, the police said.

The statue is being removed and will be stored in a safe place until it can be evaluated, said Davis City councilman Lucas Frerichs.

Investigators are still unsure of when exactly the statue was torn down or what the motive may have been, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“Seeing as it’s a cultural icon to a portion of the people in Davis, we are taking it very seriously,” Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department was quoted as saying by the daily.

The statue of Gandhiji, which was donated by the Indian government to the city of Davis, was installed by the city council four years ago amidst protests from anti-Gandhi and anti-India organisations.

India condemns vandalism

India on Saturday strongly condemned the incident and took up the matter with the US, seeking appropriate action against those responsible for the "despicable act".

"The government of India strongly condemns this malicious and despicable act against a universally respected icon of peace and justice," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

It said the Indian embassy in Washington has taken up the matter with the US Department of State for a thorough investigation into the incident and appropriate action against those responsible for it.

In a statement, the MEA said the US Department of State has conveyed that the act of vandalism is unacceptable and expressed the hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as quickly as possible.

"The Consulate General of India in San Francisco has separately taken up the matter with the city of Davis and local law enforcement authorities, which have initiated the investigations," it said.

The MEA said the Mayor of Davis has deeply regretted the incident and informed that they have initiated an investigation. "Local Indian community organisations have condemned the act of vandalism," the ministry said.

Indian-Americans have expressed deep anguish and shock at the incident.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 3:02:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/mahatma-gandhi-statue-vandalised-in-us/article33701882.ece