Sunday, May 9, 2021
Home News Reports UK: Leicester City Council decides to consider online petition to remove Mahatma Gandhi’s statue,...

UK: Leicester City Council decides to consider online petition to remove Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, Gandhi supporters hold protest against the decision

Supporters of the statue formed a symbolic human chain with ribbons around the statue on Saturday to protest against the City Council's decision to consider the petition demanding the demolition

The extra-judicial killing of African American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, US, has stirred massive protests across several countries, some of which have turned violent. Statues of historical personalities such as Winston Churchill and Christopher Columbus have been toppled, vandalised or defaced. Amid this, an online petition bearing more than 6,000 signatures demanding to remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Leicester, United Kingdom has been accepted by the City Council for consideration.

The petition accuses Gandhi of being “a fascist, racist and sexual predator”. The petition adds, “For years he has been idolised and taught in school curriculum. For a lot of people in my community, he has bought inconsolable suffering against my people. As a result, I do not wish to see a statue and praise of that kind of character”. The petitioner asked people to conduct their own research on Gandhi and align it with their beliefs before signing the protest.

The petition has now been closed after Leicester City Council requested the petitioner to close it and formally submit it with presenting arguments.

Objection to the Petition

After the city council decided to deliberate on the demand, it has triggered a debate on the issue in the UK. Several people have come forward to defend the statue and oppose the demand to dismantle it. Supporters of the statue formed a symbolic human chain with ribbons around the statue on Saturday to protest against the City Council’s decision to consider the petition demanding the demolition. Volunteers from the Hindu organisation Samanvaya Parivar organised the protest, who were joined by former Leicester East MP Keith Vaz and city councillors. The group also tied white ribbons to the railings and held a silent vigil.

Gandhi supporters hold symbolic protest against petition to dismantle the statue in Leicester

According to Labour MP Claudia Webbe from Leicester (East), the uncanny petition was a ‘massive distraction’ from the anti-racism protests. She argued that Gandhi was able to create a mass movement, just like Martin Luther King did with his Civil Rights Movement. “His form of peaceful protest, like Black Lives Matter, is a force for change. There is not any desire from the black community to move that symbol of change,” she was quoted as saying.

Faisal Devji who is a professor of Indian history at Oxford University dubbed the petition as ‘absurd’ and stated that the comparison of Mahatma Gandhi with slave owners was a ‘bit much.’ He added that the statue of the ‘Father of the Indian Nation’ was also a representation of the Gujaratis who had come to live in Leicester, after their exodus from Uganda during the regime of military dictator Idi Amin.

Besides, he argued that Gandhi sympathised with the native Africans during Zulu and Boer wars and thus his track record was ‘mixed.’ Former Member of Parliament, Keith Vaz, who had unveiled the said statue in 2009 and hailed Mahatma Gandhi as one the greatest peacemakers reiterated that he would defend the statue ‘personally’.

‘Documented Racism’ of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi during his time in South Africa had referred to native Africans as ‘dirty, uncivilised, and savages.’ He had written in 1893 that “Indians are a little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa”. In 1904, he wrote to a health officer in Johannesburg that the council “must withdraw Kaffirs” from an unsanitary slum known as the “Coolie Location” where a large number of Africans lived alongside Indians. He had also petitioned against the system in public places in South Africa where there was one entrance for white people and another for Indians and native Africans. He was against clubbing Indians with Africans, and sought a different entrance for Indians.

His grandson and biographer, Rajmohan Gandhi, had conceded that Mahatma Gandhi was ignorant and prejudiced towards the African black community but also highlighted his progressive behaviour that was distinct from other compatriots.

Controversial historian Ramchandra Guha, in his defence argued, “Speaking of comprehensive equality for coloured people was premature in early 20th Century South Africa.” However, according to Ashwin Desai, Mahatma Gandhi endorsed higher taxes on poor African peasants and ignored the brutality of the British Empire against native Africans. As such, the demand to remove his statue in Manchester was made by student activists in October last year.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi vandalised in London

Days after some Balck Lives Matter protesters in the US vandalised the statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, some similar unruly elements had desecrated another Gandhi statue on Parliament Square, London. The miscreants defaced the statue on Sunday with scribbling ‘racist’ on its plinth and splattering it with white paint. They also taped placards with anti-racism messages on it. The said statue was installed in 2015 along with 11 other prominent British, Commonwealth, and foreign political figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill. Following the attack on statues, several prominent statues in London have been covered with boards to protect them from vandalism.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Here is how The Lancet used dubious sources to blame Modi Govt for the Covid crisis

Following the abrogation of Article 370, The Lancet had issued a strong condemnation of the Indian Government.

Indian diaspora protests against West Bengal post-poll violence in UK, Canada, Australia and United States

"The State machinery is failing the people of West Bengal as the Hindus are subjected to killings, rapes, and exodus from their homeland," a protestor said.

Prashant Kishor to fire 85 percent of his IPAC staff after Bengal election victory, may start a political career in Bihar: Report

Only the core 100-150 people will be retained to carry out political strategising work that Prashant Kishor ked IPAC does.

Himanta Biswa Sarma elected as next Chief Minister of Assam after BJP legislative party meeting

Himanta Biswa Sarma was proposed as the next Chief Minister by outgoing CM Sarbandana Sonowal in the legislative party meeting

China’s ‘out-of-control’ rocket debris disintegrates over the Indian Ocean, lands near the Maldives

Notably, the rocket which is uncontrollably falling back to Earth is the same space module whose launch was gloated upon by a Chinese Communist Party body to mock India's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Himanta Biswa Sarma favourite to become new Chief Minister of Assam, could take oath on 10th May

Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congress leader, joined the BJP in 2015, a year after the general elections.

Recently Popular

Meet AAP’s ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’: Who is Navneet Kalra, the businessman on the run after oxygen hoarding scandal was busted

Oxygen Concentrators have been found at Khan Chacha, Nege & Ju bar and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi, all owned by Navneet Kalra

Arvind Kejriwal govt expels 7 journalists from Whatsapp group after report critical of govt handling of oxygen crisis, senior journalists keep mum

The Arvind Kejriwal government has been the darling of the media for a long time but it seems to want absolute devotion

Comedian Sanket Bhosale who had featured in ad mocking Rahul Gandhi booked for violating Covid-19 norms in Punjab

A week after the vandalism by the Congress workers in Mumbai, the Congress-led Punjab government has now booked comedian Sanket Bhosale, the actor featured in the advertisement, on the pretext of violating Covid-19 regulations during his wedding.

Chinese research paper, published 6 years ago by Chinese military backed authors, discussed weaponising Coronavirus: Reports

A 2015 research paper by Chinese scientists reveals nefarious plans to weaponise the SARS Coronavirus against the world.

‘Dominance of one religious group cannot prevent religious celebrations of other’, says Madras HC after local Muslims object to Hindu procession

The Madras High court concluded that similar acts of 'resistance' by other religious groups would result in loss of lives, destruction of properties, riots, religious fights and chaos.

Subramaniam Swamy calls S Jaishankar a ‘waiter’ and says he tested positive for COVID: Netizens fume, EAM clarifies

Subramanian Swamy stoked controversy after he targeted Dr S Jaishankar by referring to him as a 'waiter' and claiming he was COVID positive
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,881FansLike
540,300FollowersFollow
24,300SubscribersSubscribe