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‘So sorry’: US envoy to India apologises over desecration of Mahatma Gandhi statue in Washington

The US Ambassador to India, Ken Juster, has apologised for desecration of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the United States. The statue was vandalised with graffiti and spray paint outside the Indian embassy in Washington.

“So sorry to see the desecration of the Gandhi statue in Wash, DC. Please accept our sincere apologies. Appalled as well by the horrific death of George Floyd & the awful violence & vandalism. We stand against prejudice & discrimination of any type. We will recover & be better,” Juster said on Twitter.

The incident is reported to have taken place on the intervening night of June 2 and 3. The officials of the Indian embassy informed the State Department and registered a complaint with the local law enforcement agencies.

On Wednesday, a team of officials from Metropolitan Police visited the site and started conducting inquiries.

Vandalism of the statue of the apostle of peace comes during the week of nationwide protests against the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several of these protests have turned violent which many times has resulted in damage of some of the most prestigious and sacred American monuments.

In Washington DC, protesters this week burnt a church and damaged some of the prime properties and historic places like the national monument and Lincoln Memorial.

One of the few statues of a foreign leader on a federal land in Washington DC, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi was dedicated by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in the presence of the then US president Bill Clinton on September 16, 2000, during his state visit to the US.

In October 1998, the US Congress had authorised the government of India to establish and maintain a memorial “to honour Mahatma Gandhi on Federal land in the District of Columbia”.

According to the Indian Embassy website, the sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi is cast in bronze as a statue and has a height of 8 feet 8 inches.

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