Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in US defaced by ‘Khalistani elements’; anti-farm law supporters say protest ‘peaceable, non-violent’ – art and culture

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On Saturday right through a rally to express solidarity with farmers who are agitating against the recently enacted agricultural laws in India, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the Indian Embassy used to be defaced and vandalised by sure “Khalistani elements”.

Posters and banners were seen pasted or propped up against the statue and a yellow flag used to be sighted draped over it. Some people were also seen waving “Khalistani” flags and raising pro-Khalistan slogans.

The Indian Embassy condemned the “mischievous act” by hooligans which it said “masqueraded as protesters.”

“The statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in front of the Embassy used to be defaced by Khalistani elements on 12 December 2020. The Embassy strongly condemns this mischievous act by hooligans masquerading as protesters against the universally respected icon of peace and justice.”

“The Embassy has lodged a strong protest with US law enforcement agencies and has also taken up the matter with america Branch of State for an early investigation and action against the culprits under the relevant law,” it added. Those who were a part of the protest described it as “peaceable and non-violent”.

“This protest isn’t especially against the government but in enhance of the farmers. It is against the current administration there. We see this invoice as eradication of our culture,” Mansimran Singh, probably the most organisers of the protest, told ANI.

“For me, we are just another group that supports the farmers. Where does Khalistan come from? In the final 35 years, you have seen this activism grow. Why doesn’t India ask that question to its own people or its own government as to why we have this. In The usa, when someone talks approximately secession we ask them why,” he said.

Speaking on the defacing of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, he said, “In The usa, all accomplice statues were vandalised and now they have got been taken down. So why not him?”

Echoing similar opinions, Manmeet Singh, an activist, said that the protest held in front of the Embassy used to be “peaceable and non-violent”.

“We have been working on this issue for 14 years. I have personally witnessed the agrarian crisis like in Punjab and Maharashtra. Our protest used to be definitely a peaceable, non-violent protest,” he said.

On the Khalistan flags being spotted right through the protest, he said, “The organisers will raise the Khalistan issue on another platform on another day. We would like the media to concern on the farmers’ issue. This isn’t a regional issue.”

This is the second one time this year that the Mahatma’s statue used to be defaced. On June 3 right through the George Floyd protests, the statue used to be vandalised by unknown persons. Post the desecration, an expert used to be called in to refurbish the statue.

The statue of Mahatma Gandhi used to be unveiled by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 16, 2000, in the presence of then US president Invoice Clinton.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for the final 17 days at the borders of Delhi against the three newly enacted farm laws.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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