The White House has condemned the desecration of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a city in California by unidentified miscreants. "We certainly would have concern about the desecration of monuments of Gandhi," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
She was responding to a question on the desecration of the six-foot-tall, 294 kg bronze statue of Gandhi in the Central Park of the city of Davis in northern California. It was broken and ripped from the base by unknown miscreants recently.
"Certainly we would condemn that desecration and watch it closely," Psaki said.
The vandalisation of Gandhi's statue in the US has evoked a strong response from India which sought a thorough investigation and appropriate action against those responsible for the "despicable act."
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said the US Department of State has conveyed that the act of vandalism is unacceptable and expressed the hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as quickly as possible.
"The government of India strongly condemns this malicious and despicable act against a universally respected icon of peace and justice," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on January 30.
It said the Indian embassy in Washington has taken up the matter with the US Department of State for a thorough investigation into the incident and appropriate action against those responsible for it.
The city of Davis, in a statement, condemned the act of vandalism.
"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.
"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," it said.
The city said it sympathises with those who are grieving the destruction of the statue and promised a thorough investigation and full accountability for those who committed this crime.
"We sympathise with those who have sincerely voiced their opposition to the statue and who feel unheard. But we reiterate our belief that the solution to solving such differences is never in violent acts but through compromise and dialogue. It is our sincere desire that our community moves forward with peaceful and positive discourse and reconciliation," the city said in its statement.
In a statement, Democratic Congressman Ami Bera condemned the incident and said vandalisation and destruction of property is "unacceptable and has no place in our society."
“I condemn the vandalisation of the Gandhi statue at Central Park in Davis, California. Peaceful and nonviolent protest, which was championed by civil rights leaders at home and abroad, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, is a hallmark of American democracy.
"The strength of our country lies in our diversity, but also in our ability to peacefully express our opinions and differences. Vandalisation and the destruction of property is unacceptable and has no place in our society,” he said.