A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced in Washington DC by a group of protesters who had gathered to support farmers demonstrating in India against three recently enacted farm laws. The Indian Embassy has denounced the participation of “Khalistani elements” in the event since separatist flags were seen in the middle of the protesting crowd.
An official statement said Saturday that a strong protest had been filed with law enforcement agencies in the US capital. The shattered statue stands in front of the embassy.
“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, “said a statement from the Indian Embassy.
Hundreds of Sikhs from in and around the Washington DC metropolitan area, Maryland and Virginia, along with many from other states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina, had held a rally of cars at the Indian Embassy in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers.
However, the peaceful protest was soon hijacked by “separatist Sikhs” who carried “Khalistan flags” with anti-India posters and banners claiming to represent “the Republic of Khalistan,” PTI reported.
Shortly thereafter, a yellow flag was reportedly placed on the head and face of the Mahatma Gandhi statue, along with cardboard cutouts and posters placed or pasted on it. The statue was unveiled by then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000 in the presence of then-US President Bill Clinton.
Later, they also hung a doll from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo with a rope around the statue’s neck, PTI reported.
Thousands of farmers across India, especially those in Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting in recent weeks against three central government agricultural laws passed in September, garnering the support of many political parties.