Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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 Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Allahabad HC upheld ‘conversion only for marriage invalid’ when a Muslim converted to Hinduism, does u-turn when a Hindu converted to Islam

The Allahabad HC had also ruled that SC had observed in several cases the right to choose a partner is an integral part of Fundamental rights

Far away from India, a Vedic ecosystem rises in Texas Gaushala

In January 2020, I shared the story of Abhinav Goswami, who decided to bring to America the gifts of ancient India

Pakistan Court, which granted custody of 13-year-old Christian girl to 44-year-old Azhar, exonerates abductor, says ‘no rape’: Shocking details

Earlier the Pakistan court had granted the custody of a 13-year-old girl Christian girl to her 44-year-old abductor Ali Azhar

Muzaffarnagar: Yogi govt demolishes illegal construction on 100 Bighas of forest dept land by Islamic preacher Pir Khushal Miyan

A letter written by Union Minister of State Dr Sanjeev Balyan to the DM ordered the authorities to get the land belonging to the forest department vacated at the earliest.

J-K admin makes public list of beneficiaries under ‘illegal’ Roshni Act, names of former PDP minister, Congress leader, Farooq Abdullah etc emerge: Details

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had deemed the Roshni Act as illegal, directing the gvt to publish list of land beneficiaries on the official website

Grooming Jihad in Jharkhand: Rahim becomes Arjun, tells the Hindu woman to first convert to Islam if she wants them to get married

The latest case of Grooming Jihad (Love Jihad) has emerged from village Behera in the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.

Recently Popular

Anvay Naik suicide case for which Arnab Goswami was arrested: Letters exchanged, the closure report, and unanswered questions

On 4th of Nov, the country watched as Arnab Goswami was dragged out of his house by over 20 armed policemen for a closed 2018 suicide case

Fraud fact-checker accuses TrueIndology of lying, when caught, wants an HD-quality photo from 1904

Pratik Sinha's lies were exposed in an OpIndia report. After his shoddy 'fact-checking' was called out, he has now resorted to name calling and shifting goalposts.

German police barge into the house of anti-lockdown activist Dr Andreas Noack, arrest him during YouTube livestream: Watch video

Dr. Andreas Noack, was arrested by the German Police on Wednesday in what appears to be a gross violation of personal liberty.

Pratibha Patil is trending on Twitter and it is not what you think. Read details

Former President Pratibha Patil was trending on Twitter and it was not because of what people think.

Uttar Pradesh: Golu and Guddu kill driver Mushtaq with an axe for harassing their sister, surrender to police

The brothers, Golu and Guddu, reportedly reached the police station with a blood-stained axe and confessed to killing Mushtaq.

Actress Sana Khan who quit bollywood for Islam marries a Muslim cleric who was introduced to her by hatemonger Ajaz Khan

Sana Khan married the Muslim cleric in a small intimate ceremony in Surat. The newly married couple also cut a cake after the wedding.
- Advertisement -

Delhi Riots case: Court says enough material on record to proceed against Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan for offences under UAPA

All the three accused Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and Faizan Khan were arrested for their alleged role in the anti-Hindu Delhi riots case.

Airport in Ayodhya to be named Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Yogi gives assent

Yogi Adityanath has cleared a proposal to rename the Ayodhya Airport to Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Ayodhya.

Karnataka High Court dismisses murder convict’s defence, says refusal to marriage cannot be accepted as ‘sudden provocation’ for committing murder

The Karnataka High Court noted that agreeing to the defence that 'grave and sudden' provocation led the accuse to murder the victim will rob the woman of her choice and dignity

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij becomes first to get trial dose of India-made COVID vaccine

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij was administered a trial dose of India made Covaxin at a hospital in Ambala on November 20

Habitual offender Rehana Fathima given last warning by Kerala High Court after violating bail condition in ‘Gomatha’ cookery video

In the cookery video titled Gomatha Ularthu, Fathima kept referring to the meat as Gomatha. The High Court let her go giving her last opportunity to 'improve'.

Uttar Pradesh: Shahid once again elopes with minor girl belonging to other community after securing bail; family demands strict action

Shahid had lured the same girl away in March as well after which he was jailed but sections of POCSO were not invoked.

Anti-Conversion law: Yogi government approves ordinance against unlawful religious conversions, violations to attract up to 10 years in jail

The anti-conversion ordinance passed by Uttar Pradesh govt also has provisions for 10 years’ jail for mass conversion

Allahabad HC upheld ‘conversion only for marriage invalid’ when a Muslim converted to Hinduism, does u-turn when a Hindu converted to Islam

The Allahabad HC had also ruled that SC had observed in several cases the right to choose a partner is an integral part of Fundamental rights

HuffPost India shuts shop days after public notice asking for lowering down FDI in digital media

HuffPost India is shutting down its operations from the 24th of November, an announcement on its website read.

A couple tries to self-immolate outside Odisha assembly, alleges police inaction in their child’s murder case as suspect belongs to ruling BJD

The couple alleged that neither the police nor the administration helped them as the suspect was close to the the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) minister Arun Sahu. A case was registered by the police but no arrest was made.

Connect with us