Ken Juster, the US Ambassador to India, has offered apologies after the statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Indian Embassy in Washington DC was desecrated allegedly by people who are involved in vandalising the area during the ongoing protests against the killing of African-American George Floyd.
The Indian embassy, located not very far from the protest site, reportedly took the matter immediately with the US State Department and the local police have started investigating the matter.
"So sorry to see the desecration of the Gandhi statue in Washington, DC. Please accept our sincere apologies," Juster tweeted Thursday.
He added: "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 and be better."
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">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.</p>
— Ken Juster (@USAmbIndia) <a href="https://twitter.com/USAmbIndia/status/1268400085429186561?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 4, 2020</a></blockquote>
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Floyd, aged 46, died last week after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, held him down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, "I can't breathe", and "please, I can't breathe". Chauvin was arrested and charged with three-degree murder and manslaughter.
Incidents of arson, vandalism and looting have happened in various places all around the Unite States after Floyd's death.
US prosecutors have announced new charges against all the four sacked Minneapolis police officers who were present while unarmed Floyd died in custody.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2774" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/line_statue.jpg" alt="" />
While there are several statues of Mahatma Gandhi installed in different cities of the United States by the Indian American community – prominently at Union Square, New York, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel in Atlanta, Mahatma Gandhi Center in Houston, San Francisco Ferry Terminal, International Peace Park, Salt Lake City and Mahatma Gandhi Center, St. Louis – this particular one in Washington was special.
The memorial plaza and statue in Washington is located directly across the road from the Embassy of India and was inaugurated by late Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 16, 2000 during his state visit to the United States. The then US President Bill Clinton was also present on the occasion.
The circular plaza is defined by gray granite pavers laid in a concentric pattern around the pedestal platform and statue. A six-inch gray granite curb defines the plaza.
The sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi, made by famous sculptor Gautam Pal of Kolkata, is cast in bronze as a statue to a height of 8 feet 8 inches. It shows Gandhi in stride, as a leader and man of action evoking memories of his 1930 protest march against salt-tax, and the many padyatras (long marches) he undertook throughout the length and breadth of the Indian sub-continent. The statue is a gift from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) headed by the Vice President of India.
The design of the statue was selected for this memorial after a competition conducted by a high-level Indian Selection Committee for Sculpture. This committee, was headed by then Vice President of India, Krishan Kant and included the likes of B.C. Sanyal, Satish Gujral, Rajmohan Gandhi, Kapila Vatsyayan, and H.V. Sharda Prasad.
The pedestal for the statue of Mahatma Gandhi is a block of new Imperial Red also known as Ruby Red. This particular block was excavated from a quarry in Ilkal in Karnataka. It was fabricated and dressed in Hosur, Tamil Nadu by Essen Enterprises of Omaha, Nebraska.
The pedestal has been shaped from a block originally weighing 25 tons reduced to a size of 9'x7'x3'4".
The block is largely rough hewn and polished in parts to provide suitable surface for the inscriptions. This has been done to provide a natural earth-like surface as base for the statue as befits Gandhi's personality..