Statue of Mahatma Gandhi before it was vandalised in Washington. (Photo: Kurt Kaiser/Wikimedia). Image Source: IANS News

New York, June 8 : The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) has told the US government that it will pay for restoring Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Washington D.C. that was desecrated last week during the protests against police brutality.

"Mahatma Gandhi being the practitioner and apostle of peace and harmony everywhere, to see a statue of such an icon being vandalized is very much disturbing and painful," said Johnson Myalil, the president of the Washington chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress on Saturday.

At the same time he said, the attacks on the Mahatma and his teachings anywhere in the world are deplorable.

Myalil wrote to National Park Service Acting Director David Vela that the IOC would bear the cost of restoring the Gandhi statue situated near the Indian Embassy.

The Park Service in-charge of maintaining the statue that was dedicated in 2000 by former President Bill Clinton and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The US Congress passed a bill in 1998 authorising the erection of the statue on government land.

The 2.6-metre tall statue was designed by sculptor Gautam Pal and depicts Gandhi as he led the 1930 Salt Satyagraha and bears his quote, "My life is my message".

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster apologised last week for the desecration of the statue.

Gandhi appears to draw the attention of some of the protesters against police brutality in the US.

A Bangladeshi restaurant that masqueraded as Indian with the name Gandhi Mahal, despite serving meat dishes, was burned in Minneapolis on May 28 by a section of protesters during their rampage.

The current wave of protests that have seen looting and arson across the US started in Minneapolis in response to the extra-judicial killing of African-American man George Floyd by a policeman who choked him to death by putting his knee on his neck.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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