A group of unidentified people destroyed, broken and torn a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a park in the US state of California from the base. She shocked and outraged Indians across the country and urged officials to investigate this as a hate crime incident.
The 294 kg bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Central Park in the city of Davis, Northern California appeared to have been sawed off at the ankles and half of her face was severed and missing. local news company Davis Enterprise reported.
The destroyed statue of Mahatma Gandhi was found by a park worker in the early morning hours of January 27, police said.
The statue will be removed and kept in a safe place until it can be evaluated, said Davis city councilor Lucas Frerichs.
Investigators are still unsure when exactly the statue was demolished or what the motive might have been, another local news company, Sacramento Bee reported.
Since it’s a cultural icon for some of the people of Davis, we take it very seriously, Davis Police Department deputy chief Paul Doroshov was quoted as saying by the daily.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi donated to the city of Davis by the Indian government was erected by the city council four years ago amid protests from anti-Gandhi and anti-India organizations.
Organization for Minorities in India (OFMI) that led these protests and opposed the statue’s installation. However, the city of Davis had voted to proceed with the installation. OFMI had since launched a campaign to remove the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Indian-Americans have expressed deep fear and shock at the incident.
“Many anti-Indian and Hindu radical organizations such as OFMI and other Khalistani separatists have created an atmosphere of hatred for many years,” said Guarang Desai of Friends of India Society International (FISI).
“Not only have they carried out hate campaigns against Indian icons, but they have also been at the forefront of attempts to promote Hindu phobia and remove India from California’s textbooks,” Desai said.
In 2016 OFMI was part of a campaign to remove mentions of “India” from sixth and seventh grade textbooks in California and replace it with “South Asia”. After massive protests from parents and students, the California Department of Education dropped the controversial changes.
Horrified at the desecration, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
We condemn this cowardly profanation and urge the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to investigate this hate crime, as it was likely done with the intent to intimidate the Indian-American community, said Easan Katir, advocacy director of HAF California, a former Member of the Davis Economic and Finance Commission.
We urge local police to arrest the perpetrators and ask the city council to revive the statue to explain that such destructive acts are not in line with our community standards, said Easan Katir.
Make no mistake HAF said in a tweet that it was not about the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi as a person, but about intimidating India and Indian-Americans.
The vandalism was lauded on Twitter by a pro-Khalistani separatist group in California who shared photos of the destroyed statue and others who said it was a good day.
This is not the first time a statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been desecrated. In December 2020, “Khalistani supporters” desecrated a Mahatma Gandhi statue in Washington, DC, in front of the Indian embassy.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)