Gandhi statue in Washington, D.C., defaced by ‘Khalistani elements’: Indian Embassy

Ritu Jha-

Once again the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Washington, D.C., was defaced and vandalized by the protesters.

In June, Gandhi’s statue in the U.S. capital was vandalized during the protests raging against the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, and this month it was again vandalized, this time by “Khalistani elements.” according to a spokesperson at the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

According to the embassy’s news release, on December 12, the statue of Gandhi at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in front of the Embassy was defaced by Khalistani elements. “The Embassy strongly condemned the mischievous act by hooligans masquerading as protesters against the universally respected icon of peace and justice.” the Embassy said.

The spokesperson confirmed the Embassy has lodged a strong protest with U.S. law enforcement agencies and has also taken up the matter with the U.S. Department of State for an early investigation and action against the culprits under the applicable law.

Abe Mathen George, the spokesperson for the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C., told indica News he can’t share more information on the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of State against the Khalistani elements.

When asked how they learned it was Khalistani, George said that they draped Mahatma Gandhi’s statue with the Khalistani flag.

According to ANI, the statue was defaced by the protestors who are supporting farmers in New Delhi agitating against the recently enacted agricultural laws in India.

Khalistani flags were also sighted at the spot when protesters defaced the Bapu statue located in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington. Earlier this month in London Khalistani flags were seen at a protest held outside the Indian High Commission where protestors raised anti-India and pro-farmer slogans.

The Mahatma’s statue in Washington was vandalized earlier this year on June 3 during the Floyd protests by unknown persons. After the desecration, an expert was called in to refurbish the Gandhi statue.

The statue was vandalized with graffiti and spraypainting, prompting the Indian mission to register a complaint with the local law enforcement agencies. The desecrated statue of Gandhi, the design of which was created by Gautam Pal, was later covered and the site has been cleaned up.

The Indian Embassy in the US had then registered cases with the Metropolitan Police and the National Park police. The matter was reported immediately to the State Department, and Deputy Secretary of State had called the Indian ambassador to address the issue. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun had apologized for the incident. Biegun had a month later inaugurated the refurbished Mahatma Gandhi statue along with the Indian envoy to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

The statue was dedicated by former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 16, 2000, during his state visit to the U.S., in the presence of the then U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for the past 17 days at the borders of Delhi against three farm laws.