By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 14 November 2021: The vandalization of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue here is being condemned across Victoria and Australia by organizations and individuals. The use of violence against the statue of Gandhi, the messenger of peace and harmony, has devastated peace-loving people here. Speculation is rife as to who could be behind the incident. The police are investigating the matter.
Mahatma Gandhi’s statue unveiled by PM ScoMo at the Australian Indian Community Centre, Rowville on Friday was vandalised within 24 hours, reports say. Talking to SAT, Mr Vasan Srinivasan, Chairperson & Founding Trustee Australia Indian Community Charitable Trust (AICCT) said the matter has been reported to the Victoria Police and Federal Police and they are investigating the vandalism. It looks the vandals tried to remove the head from the statue. This is the first statue of Gandhi in Victoria.
In a media statement, Mr Vasan said, ” It truly saddens us that someone would vandalize this statue within 24 hours of its unveiling. The aim of the statue was to celebrate India’s history, its 75th year of Independence and highlight the richness of culture across the country.
It’s disappointing to see this level of disrespect of India’s history displayed towards the community in the most multicultural state in Australia. Whilst Mahatama Gandhi may not be a figurehead in the wider Australian community, his history is well known among all Indians.
PM Scott Morrison in a statement said: “I am devastated to hear that the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Australia Indian Community Centre in Rowville, Victoria has been vandalized after it was unveiled on Friday.
Australia is the most successful multicultural and immigration nation in the world and attacks on cultural monuments will not be tolerated.
It is disgraceful and extremely disappointing to see this level of disrespect. Whoever is responsible for this has shown great disrespect to the Australian Indian community and should be ashamed.”
Consulate General of India Mr Raj Kumar has also condemned the act: “When I saw the pictures I was really shocked,” he told SBS News.
I could not believe that this could happen here in Australia. And that too to Mahatma Gandhi, who’s an apostle of peace. We really condemn this. This should not have happened. Whoever has done [this, they're] not of a sound mind. That’s what we feel.
“We have contacted the police. We have contacted all the local bodies to investigate it and bring the perpetrators to the law.”
Condemning the vandalization of Gandhi’s statue, Mr. Deepak Joshi of The Humanist Project said, ” this is a shocking incident and I hope it is thoroughly investigated and the culprits brought to justice.”
The Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV), Australia South Asia Society (ASAS), and many other organizations have condemned the vandalization of Gandhi’s statue.
THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY AND WILL BE UPDATED AS AND WHEN NECESSARY.