- A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in New York City’s Union Square was vandalized on Feb. 4.
- Vandals reportedly covered the statue with a cloth and wrote obscenities on it, thus saving the statue from permanent damage and extensive cleanup.
- The incident ignited condemnation “in the strongest terms” from the Consulate General of India, which said that the matter has “been taken up with the US State Department for immediate investigation and urged appropriate action against those responsible for this despicable act.”
- The statue was donated and then dedicated on Oct. 2, 1986, by the Gandhi Memorial International Foundation to honor Gandhi’s 117th birth anniversary.
- Other statues of Gandhi have been defaced over the past few years, including a statue in Washington that was allegedly targeted by Khalistan supporters last month.
A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in New York was defaced earlier this month by unknown culprits, igniting outrage and condemnation from the Indian American community in the city.
The 8-foot-tall statue, located in Union Square near New York University, did not suffer permanent damage from the incident on Feb. 4, according to Ahmedabad Mirror.
People investigating the incident said that the vandals reportedly covered the statue with a cloth and wrote obscenities on it, saving it from permanent damage and extensive cleanup.
“The Consulate condemns this act of vandalism in the strongest terms,” the Consulate General of India in New York said in a statement issued after the incident, NDTV reported. “The matter has also been taken up with the US State Department for immediate investigation and urged appropriate action against those responsible for this despicable act.”
On Mahatma Gandhi statue in New York City being defaced:@MEAIndia @IndianEmbassyUS @DrSJaishankar @NYCMayor @NYPDPC @globalnyc pic.twitter.com/Sr0Q2RQIWn
— India in New York (@IndiainNewYork) February 5, 2022
The Gandhi Memorial International Foundation donated and then dedicated the bronze statue on Oct. 2, 1986 to commemorate the civil rights and freedom advocate’s 117th birth anniversary, with American civil rights leader Bayard Rustin delivering a speech during the ceremony.
The recent incident was the second act of vandalism against a statue of Gandhi in the U.S. in the span of two weeks. Khalistan supporters allegedly defaced a Gandhi statue in Washington on Jan. 26 during India’s Republic Day.
Before that, a 6-foot-tall Gandhi statue was vandalized early last year in the city of Davis’ Central Park in California. According to local authorities, a park employee discovered the statue, whose feet were sawed off, on the morning of January 27, 2021.
Khalistan supporters also reportedly vandalized a Gandhi statue in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C., in December 2020, prompting then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to release a statement condemning the “terrible” incident.
“No statue or memorial should be desecrated and certainly not one like that of Gandhi, who really fought for the values that America represents of peace, justice, and freedom,” McEnany said. “It is appalling that it has happened more than once and we believe the reputation of Mahatma Gandhi should be respected, especially here in America’s capital.”
Meanwhile, Indian authorities are now searching for the culprit behind the defacement of a Gandhi bust in Turkauliya, a village located in the state of Bihar in eastern India, Hindustan Times reported.
A video clip of the scene shows that unidentified individuals had created a garland with tetra packs used for liquor bottles and then wrapped it around the bust’s neck.
“By the time we reached the spot, nothing like that was found. However, we have received complaint in this connection and search for the accused are underway,” local police officer Mithlesh Kumar said in a statement.
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