Indian community ‘appalled’ after vandalism of Gandhi statue in Melbourne


The incident happened a day after the statue was unveiled by the prime minister outside the Australian Indian Community Center in the city’s south-east suburb of Rowville.

“It is truly disappointing to see such disrespect for Indian history in Australia’s most multicultural state,” Australian Indian Community Charitable Trust chairman Vasan Srinivasan told SBS News. .

“It really saddens me that someone vandalized the statue within 24 hours of its unveiling. They were trying to cut off the head by rubbing it around,” Mr Srinivasan said.

A life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been vandalized in Melbourne.

The incident happened just a day after the statue was unveiled. Source: SBS

The statue was donated by the Indian government and was unveiled by Mr Morrison on Friday.

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge, Deputy Minister for Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood, Victorian Opposition Leader Mathew Guy and Indian Consulate General Raj Kumar also attended the occasion.

Mr Morrison condemned the act on Sunday.

“I am devastated to learn that the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Indian Community Center of Australia in Rowville, Victoria was vandalized following its unveiling on Friday,” he told SBS News.

“Australia is the most successful multicultural and immigration nation in the world and attacks on cultural monuments will not be tolerated.

“It is shameful and extremely disappointing to see such disrespect. Whoever is responsible for this has shown a great disrespect to the Australian-Indian community and should be ashamed.”

The statue of Mahatama Gandhi.

The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled on Friday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: Provided

The harbinger of India’s nonviolent movement, Mahatma Gandhi is widely regarded as the leader who guided the country to independence from British rule in 1947.

“Next year is the 75th [anniversary] of India’s independence,” Mr. Srinivasan said.

“There are nearly 300,000 Indians living in the state of Victoria. I did not expect this to happen in Victoria.

The vandalized statue was inspected by local police on Saturday evening.

“But they couldn’t get fingerprints because it was raining heavily throughout the day,” Mr Srinivasan said.

CCTV footage of the site is being reviewed.

Members of Australia’s Indian community expressed their pain on Sunday.

“I am absolutely appalled to hear this shocking news,” Rajni Luthra, editor of the Sydney-based newspaper Indian Link, told SBS News.

“For an apostle of peace, facing such an act of violence is beyond words.”

“At this particular juncture, when the world is so strongly polarized, we need to reacquaint ourselves with Gandhi’s philosophy, especially his ideas of civil disobedience and allowing debate.

“Every major city in the world has a statue of Gandhi. That this is happening in Melbourne, home to Australia’s largest Indian community, is particularly appalling,” Ms Luthra said.

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Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria chairman Surya Prakash Soni called the incident a “low act”.

“It is truly shocking to the community that someone would commit such a low act by vandalizing a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which is a symbol of peace and non-violence,” he told SBS News.

“He’s not just a leader of India, he’s a world leader, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison himself quoted. [at the] unveiling event on Friday.

“It’s really shocking. Why would someone do such an act in the first place?

Consulate General of India Raj Kumar also condemned the act.

“When I saw the photos, I was really shocked,” he told SBS News.

“I couldn’t believe it could happen here in Australia. And that too for Mahatma Gandhi, who is an apostle of peace.

“We really condemn this. It shouldn’t have happened. Whoever did [this, they’re] not sane. That’s how we feel.

“We have contacted the police. We have contacted all local bodies to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Victoria Police have been contacted for comment.

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