WASHINGTON: Members of the Khalistani separatists desecrated the statue of Mahatma Gandhi during a protest organized by Sikh-American youth in support of farmers protesting against recently enacted farm laws in India.
Hundreds of Sikhs from Greater Greater Washington DC area, Maryland and Virginia, along with many from other states like NY, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina, on Saturday held a car rally to the indian embassy in downtown Washington DC, where they gathered to express solidarity with protesting farmers.
However, the peaceful protest was soon hijacked by Sikh separatists who carried Khalistani flags with anti-India posters and banners saying they represented “the Republic of Khalistan”.
During the protest, many of the young pro-Khalistan Sikhs wearing Kirpans jumped on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and stuck a poster on it. The group was raising slogans against India and in favor of Khalistan.
The Indian Embassy condemned the “malicious act” of the hooligans disguised as protesters.
“The statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Square in front of the Embassy was defaced by Khalistani elements on December 12, 2020. The Embassy strongly condemns this malicious act by hooligans posing as protesters against the universally respected icon. of peace and justice “. it said in a statement.
The Embassy said it has lodged a strong protest with US law enforcement agencies and has also brought the matter to the State Department for early investigation and action against the culprits under applicable law.
The Washington DC police and secret services had a sizable presence when all of this happened on Saturday afternoon.
About half an hour later, another group of pro-Khalistani Supporters hung a doll of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on a rope around the statue’s neck.
After more than an hour, a Secret Service agent was seen approaching the statue and apparently telling the youths that they were breaking the law by committing acts of vandalism.
On June 26, the president Donald trump had signed an executive order, according to which a person can be imprisoned for up to 10 years for destroying, damaging, vandalizing, or desecrating a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or vandalizing government property.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the presence of then-US President Bill Clinton on September 16, 2000, after the US Congress passed a law on the matter in 1998.
This is the second time that the Gandhi statue has been desecrated by criminals. The first such incident was reported on the middle night of June 2-3.
Farmers from different parts of the country, especially Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points in Delhi for more than two weeks to demand the repeal of the three agricultural laws.
In video: Khalistan flag on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Washington