The Indian embassy registers a complaint with the local law enforcement agency.
WASHINGTON, DC: The iconic Mahatma Gandhi statue situated in a public park across from the Indian Embassy in the nation’s capital has been defaced with graffiti by miscreants during the ongoing protests and riots over the senseless killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man.
The statue was spray painted with profanities on the night of June 2-3, and has since been covered up to avert further desecration. Reportedly, the Indian mission here has registered a complaint with the local law enforcement agency which, in turn, has launched an investigation into the untoward incident.
US Ambassador to India Ken Juster took to the microblogging news site Twitter to apologize for the vandalism of a statue, gifted to America by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which stands as a symbol of nonviolent solutions to life’s pressing problems. “So sorry to see the desecration of the Gandhi statue in Wash, DC. Please accept our sincere apologies”, he said. “Appalled as well by the horrific death of George Floyd & the awful violence & vandalism. We stand against prejudice & discrimination of any type. We will recover & be better”, he added.
Protests and riots have erupted in several cities across America after video footage emerged showing a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the unarmed black man lay handcuffed, gasping for air and pleading for breath. Floyd was arrested Memorial Day on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill.
Now, Americans of all races are chanting his famous last words, “I can’t breathe”, and what has become a slogan, “No justice, no peace!”.
While curfews have been imposed in major cities to curb the rioting and looting, protesters have defied such orders. In the nation’s capital, they stayed out well past the deadlines stipulated by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. Fortunately, the protests have been largely peaceful in recent days with demonstrators sprawled in Lafayette Park across from the White House, in the vicinity of Capitol Hill, and even outside the Trump International Hotel waving signs that read “Black lives matter” and “Dismantle white supremacy”.
AB Wire adds:
The 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) bronze statue, located in a triangular island along Massachusetts Avenue, across the Embassy of India building, was designed by Gautam Pal, a sculptor from Kolkata.
Then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dedicated the Gandhi statue in the presence of President Bill Clinton on September 16, 2000 during a state visit.
It was installed after the US Congress passed a bill in 1998 authorizing the Indian government to establish a memorial to Gandhi on US federal land in the American capital.
The statue depicts Gandhi in ascetic garb, in reference to his 1930 march against the salt tax in India. The statue bears an inscription with Gandhi’s answer to a journalist who asked for his message to the world: “My life is my message.”