Indian American organizations are demanding justice after unknown individuals destroyed a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Central Park in Davis, California last week.
An employee of the park discovered the toppled statue of Gandhi on the morning of Jan. 27, Tribune India
Non-profit organization Indiaspora demanded that the City of Davis investigate the vandalism, where perpetrators broke the statue off its base, according to Deccan Herald
The perpetrators also destroyed the face of the statue, with half of it missing.
“We call upon the City of Davis to immediately commence a thorough process to bring the perpetrators of this act to justice and reinstall a statue that pays homage to this apostle of peace,” Indiaspora said in a statement. “It is especially ironic that the statue of a leader who was among the foremost historical giants of nonviolent civil protest was torn down in this manner.”
Hindu American Foundation (HAF) California Advocacy Director Easan Katir, a former member of the Davis Business and Finance Commission, also demanded the FBI and the Department of Homeland of Security investigate it as a potential 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,” Katir said. “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.”
The statue, which stands at six feet tall and weighs 650 pounds, was donated by the Indian government to the City of Davis and was approved for installation in 2016 despite protests from some anti-Gandhi and anti-India organizations.
In a statement, Deputy Chief Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department said authorities are taking this matter seriously. However, the police still have no leads on when the statue was taken down and who vandalized it.
“We are grateful to the City of Davis for starting a formal investigation and hope that the perpetrators who have done this horrible deed will be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC) said in a statement.