On January 28, some Khalistani elements desecrated the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Davis, California. After over four days, the White House has issued a statement condemning the act. US President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki Monday condemned the vandalisation of a statue and expressed concern over the incident.
“We certainly would have concerns about the desecration of monuments of Gandhi. And you know, that’s certainly what we would express,” Psaki said on February 1.
“But certainly we would, you know, condemn that desecration and watch it closely.”
“We do not support any actions that include the destruction of property. We understand that our community reflects a diversity of views and values, but we expect that everyone will extend respect to each other and to shared spaces, said the US spokesperson in her statement.
“We are committed to creating a city that is inclusive and lives up to our principles. We work diligently to ensure the physical and psychological safety of every resident. Acts of destruction are violent and shatter this safety,” she said.
Asked to throw light on the US President’s reaction to the entire fiasco, Psaki said: “If there’s more to share on the President’s point of view on it, I’m happy to get back to you on that.”
India condemns desecration of Mahatma Gandhi statue in California, seeks action
Immediately after the incident, India had condemned the act and taken up the issue with the US state department. The Indian embassy in Washington on January 30 (Saturday) sought “appropriate action” against those responsible for the act.
Meanwhile, India’s consulate in San Francisco in California state separately took up the matter with the city of Davis and local law enforcement authorities, who initiated an investigation in the matter.
On January 28, Videos and pictures had emerged showing Khalistani elements in California vandalising the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Davis. It was broken and ripped from the base and thrown on the ground. Members of the pro-Khalistan organization also distributed sweets to celebrate the hoisting of the Sikh flag at the Red Fort.
Pro-Khalistani protestors oppose re-installation of the statue
On Sunday, some Indian American protesters had gathered at the spot of the Gandhi statue to register their protest against the wanton act of vandalism. However, they were met with counter-protesters from some members of the local Sikh community which opposed the statue.
Members of the CYSA reached the spot and protested against the installation of the Gandhi statue. The CYSA also said that they will lobby against the re-installation of the statue. Images of the protest were shared on social media by local journalists.