Mahatma Gandhi Statue Destroyed In California


India Post News Service

The 6-ft tall, 650-pound (294 kg) bronze statue of Gandhi in the Central Park of the City of Davis in Northern California was vandalized, broken and ripped from the base by unknown miscreants early this week.   The statue of Gandhi, which was donated by the Indian government to the city of Davis, was installed by the city council four years ago.  Several Indian-American organizationshave strongly condemned the violent toppling of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the US state of California and expressed hope that those responsible for the despicable act will be brought to justice. Indian Americans held a vigil and demanded reinstallation of the statue.

Consulate General of India in San Francisco has separately taken up the matter with the City of Davis and local law enforcement authorities, said Ambassador Dr TV Nagendra Prasad. Speaking to India Post, Consul General of India, San Francisco T.V. Nagendra Prasad, said,  “Mahatma Gandhi is an apostle of Peace and leaders like Rev Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rep John Lewis drew inspiration from local foe and message of Gandhi. It is no surprise that there is wider condemnation of the Act. The City Council has condemned the incident and issued a statement. I did take it up separately and the city council and police authorities assured me to bring the culprits to justice. Police investigations have begun and the authorities have assured a thorough investigation and full accountability of whoever perpetrated the crime.”

A State Department spokesperson said, ” We condemn this disrespectful act and are working with the relevant authorities and the Embassy of India to rectify the situation”.

Stepping up in support of the Indian community at the vigil was the Mayor of Davis Gloria Partida who deeply regretted the incident. The mayor informed the protesters that they have initiated an investigation. “Vandalism will never be condoned. Mahatma Gandhi is our inspiration and We will not allow this. Not on our watch,” the mayor added.

“It is more hurtful to see the miscreants who had done this despicable act. We strongly condemn this malicious and despicable act against a universally respected icon of peace and justice”, said Dr Romesh Japra, Chairman, FIA of Northern California. FIA calls upon the City of Davis to immediately commence a thorough process of investigation in this hate crime.

In protest against the vandalism of a Mahatma Gandhi statue in California’s Davis, the Indian Association of Sacramento held a car rally and has demanded reinstallation of the statue. In a post on Facebook, the group announced that the car rally will be held, and invited people to “Stand Up For Peace, love And Gandhiji, Reinstate Gandhi Statue: Vigil/Car Rally.” 

Mahatma Gandhi, like many iconic figures who are globally revered for their leadership in just and noble causes, was not a perfect man. But vandalizing and desecrating his statue is surely unacceptable in America, a nation that prides itself on the peaceful and democratic resolution of differences of opinion,” Indiaspora said.

“This is a really bad and heinous act. A clear investigation should be done on this act. We strongly condemn this. We need to get the new statue installed on the expense of the City and proper investigation should be done by the officials to apprehend the culprits, said Srinivas Manapragada, General Secretary of Telangana American Telugu Association.

Democratic Vice Chair of the Congressional India Caucus, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) issued the following statement after the vandalization of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Central Park in Davis, California: “Nonviolent, respectful protest was the essence of Gandhi’s life mission. To see the desecration of this magnificent statue only underscores the need for more people to study Gandhi’s teachings, not unilaterally erase him from the public discourse.

This was a shameful act. At a moment in our history when disagreement needs to be managed with tolerance and patience, I urge everyone involved to take the time to listen and talk instead of resorting to acts of public vandalism. As the Democratic Vice Chair of the India Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to build bridges across these divisions. I encourage everyone to join me in working through disagreement with dialogue and discussion, rather than resorting to violence that tears at the fabric of our society.”

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