Washington: Responding to the recent incident wherein the statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced during a protest here against the recently enacted agricultural laws in India, the State Department on Tuesday (local time) said that it takes “safety and security of foreign missions in the US very seriously” and it is in discussion with the Indian Embassy on the matter.
“We are aware of recent protests in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. We take responsibility to provide for the safety and security of foreign missions in the US very seriously,” a State Department spokesperson told ANI. “We are in discussion with the Indian Embassy about the recent incident,” the spokesperson added.
On December 12, during a rally to express solidarity with farmers who are agitating against the new farm laws in India, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the Indian Embassy in the US was defaced and vandalised by certain “Khalistani elements”.
Posters and banners were seen pasted or propped up against the statue and a yellow flag was sighted draped over it. Some people were also seen waving “Khalistani” flags and raising pro-Khalistan slogans.
The Indian Embassy has 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 was 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 the US Department of State for an early investigation and action against the culprits under the applicable law,” it added.
This was the second time this year that the Mahatma’s statue was defaced. On June 3 during the George Floyd protests, the statue was vandalized by unknown persons. Post the desecration, an expert was called in to refurbish the statue.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 16, 2000, in the presence of then US president Bill Clinton.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and several other states have been protesting at the borders of Delhi against the three newly enacted farm laws. (ANI)