Mahatma Gandhi statue vandalized in New York, protests by Indian-American community | India News

Washington: Indo-American community leaders have condemned the vandalism of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in New York and said it was a disrespect to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, two leaders who sought to eradicate hatred .

A life-size bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized in a New York neighborhood on Saturday (February 5 local time), an act strongly condemned as “despicable” by the Indian Consulate General. The eight-foot-tall statue, located in Union Square in Manhattan, was defaced by unidentified people, the consulate in New York said.

“As an African-American Hindu Dharma practitioner, I am deeply offended that anyone disrespects Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired MLK (Martin Luther King) to undertake the mission of nonviolence, who inspired major changes in society that are still positively impacting our lives today,” said Balabhadra Bhattacarya Dasa (Benny Tillman), President of the Vedic Friends Association.

Utsav Chakrabarti, executive director of HinduPACT, said it was not the first time a statue of Gandhi had been vandalized in the United States. “In recent years, statues of Mahatma Gandhi have been vandalized by groups aligned with radical Islamists and their sympathizers in South Asian communities,” he said.

In January last year, unknown disbelievers vandalized, smashed and tore from the base a statue of Gandhi in a California park, evoking a strong response from India calling for a full investigation and appropriate action against those responsible. of the “despicable act”.

In December 2020, Khalistani supporters desecrated a statue of Gandhi in Washington, DC in front of the Indian Embassy. Also in June 2020, unknown disbelievers vandalized the statue of Gandhi outside the Indian Embassy in the United States with graffiti and spray paint, prompting the mission to file a complaint with security forces. local order.

In a statement, Ajay Shah, head of American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), said Gandhi and the freedom movement he led inspired King and the American civil rights movement. “The MLK Memorial in Atlanta, GA has a space dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. It is no coincidence that Gandhi’s statue was desecrated during Black History Month. The perpetrators of this act and their sponsors send the message that they have not accepted peace, human rights, freedom and equality for all human beings,” Shah said.

The largest number of Gandhi statues outside of India are in the United States. The consulate had said that “the matter (the vandalism in New York) has also been taken up with the US State Department for immediate investigation and has requested appropriate action against those responsible for this despicable act”.

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