Unknown miscreants have vandalised, damaged and ripped from the bottom a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a park within the US state of California, stunning and outraging Indian-Americans throughout the nation, who’ve demanded that the officers examine it as an incident of hate crime.

The 6-ft tall, 650-pound (294 kg) bronze statue of Gandhi, within the Central Park of the City of Davis in Northern California, appeared to have been sawed off on the ankles and half its face was severed and lacking, native Davis Enterprise every day reported.

The vandalised statue of Mahatma Gandhi was discovered by a park worker within the early hours of morning of January 27, the police mentioned.

The statue is being eliminated and might be saved in a secure place till it may be evaluated, mentioned Davis City councilman Lucas Frerichs.

Investigators are nonetheless uncertain of when precisely the statue was torn down or what the motive might have been, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“Seeing as it’s a cultural icon to a portion of the people in Davis, we are taking it very seriously,” Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department was quoted as saying by the every day.

The statue of Gandhi, which was donated by the Indian authorities to town of Davis, was put in by town council 4 years in the past amidst protests from anti-Gandhi and anti-India organisations.

Organisation for Minorities in India (OFMI), which spearheaded these protests and opposed the set up of the statue. The City of Davis had nonetheless voted to go forward with the set up. Since then OFMI had launched a marketing campaign to take away the Gandhi statue.

Indian-Americans have expressed deep anguish and shock on the incident.

“An atmosphere of hatred was being created by many anti-India and hinduphobic radical organisations like OFMI and other Khalistani separatists for many years now,” mentioned Guarang Desai of Friends of India Society International (FISI).

“They have not only run hate campaigns against Indian icons but have been at the forefront of attempts to push hinduphobia and erase India from California school textbooks,” Desai mentioned.

In 2016, the OFMI was a part of a marketing campaign to take away the mentions of ‘India’ from the sixth and seventh grade California college textbooks and substitute them with ‘South Asia’. After large protests from mother and father and college students, the California Department of Education had dropped the controversial modifications.

Appalled on the desecration, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has demanded that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) examine the incident as a hate crime.

“We condemn this cowardly desecration and call upon the Department of Homeland Security and FBI to investigate this hate crime, as it was likely done with the intention of intimidating the Indian American community,” mentioned HAF California Advocacy Director Easan Katir, a former member of the Davis Business and Finance Commission.

“We urge local police to apprehend the perpetrators and call upon the city council to resurrect the statue as a statement that such destructive acts are not in harmony with our community standards,” Katir mentioned.

“Make no mistake” HAF mentioned in a tweet “this is not about legacy of Gandhi as a person, but about intimating India and Indian Americans.”.

The vandalism was praised on Twitter by a pro-Khalistan group in California, who shared photographs of the destroyed statue, and others who said “Today is a good day.”

This isn’t the primary time a statue of Gandhi has been desecrated. In December 2020, Khalistani-supporters had desecrated a Mahatma Gandhi statue in Washington, DC in entrance of the Indian Embassy.

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