New Delhi: US Ambassador to India Ken Juster Thursday tweeted an apology after a statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. was vandalised by unidentified persons earlier this week.
The incident took place on the intervening night of 2nd and 3rd June when the statue was spray painted, amid the ongoing protests in America over the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. It has been covered with a cloth since the vandalism.
Juster, in his tweet, said he was “appalled by the awful violence and vandalism”.
So sorry to see the desecration of the Gandhi statue in Wash, DC. Please accept our sincere apologies. 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.
— Ken Juster (@USAmbIndia) June 4, 2020
His apology came after the Indian embassy officials registered a complaint against the incident.
The bronze statue, designed by a Kolkata-based sculptor Gautam Pal, was installed outside the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. in 2000. It is a gift from Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
During the centenary celebrations of India’s Independence in 1997, it was resolved to set up a National Memorial to Mahatma Gandhi in the US capital. This statue was dedicated during a state visit of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the presence of US president Bill Clinton.
Celebrities condemn vandalism
The United State Park Police has launched an investigation into the vandalism incident. In Washington D.C., protesters had also burnt a historic church and damaged some places of importance like the National Mall monuments and the Lincoln Memorial.
The vandalism of Gandhi’s statue has been condemned by politicians, academicians and celebrities on social media.
— Raveena Tandon (@TandonRaveena) June 4, 2020
The rioters have clearly shown that neither Gandhi nor Rev. Martin Luther King are their inspiration. https://t.co/Mbdr6XRwSY
— Shivani Sahay (@Savitri4Ever) June 4, 2020
Bapu’s statue outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC desecrated by unruly elements of #BlackLivesMatter protesters. They will be ashamed to note that two of the biggest voices against racism i.e. Martin Luther King & Nelson Mandela were disciples of Mahatma Gandhi.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) June 4, 2020
(With inputs from PTI)
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.