Indian embassy takes up the matter with the US State Department, Metropolitan Police Department of DC and the National Park Service
By Geeta Goindi
Washington, DC, June 4, 2020 – The iconic Mahatma Gandhi statue situated in a public park across from the Indian Chancery 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, and has since been covered up to avert further desecration. A statement released by the Indian embassy conveyed that it has taken up the matter with the US State Department, Metropolitan Police Department of DC and the National Park Service and is working with all these agencies “for expeditious restoration of the statue at the park”.
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.
Condemning the vandalism of the statue, senator Marco Rubio (Republican-Florida) tweeted, “More evidence that violent radicals & run of the mill crazies have hijacked legitimate protests to create anarchy or for their own purposes. Vandalizing Gandhi’s statue outside the Indian embassy has nothing to do with what the protests are about”.
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”.
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