Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna on Monday strongly condemned the vandalisation of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the US state of California, calling it as a shameful act.
The 6-ft tall, 650-pound (294 kg) bronze statue of Gandhi in the Central Park of the City of Davis in Northern California was vandalised, broken and ripped from the base by unknown criminals early this week.
"Nonviolent, respectful protest was the essence of Gandhi's life mission. To see the desecration of this magnificent statue only underscores the need for more people to study Gandhi's teachings, not unilaterally erase him from the public discourse," Khanna said.
"This was a shameful act. At a moment in our history when disagreement needs to be managed with tolerance and patience, I urge everyone involved to take the time to listen and talk instead of resorting to acts of public vandalism," he said.
As the Democratic Vice Chair of the India Caucus, Khanna said he will continue to work with his colleagues to build bridges across these divisions.
"I encourage everyone to join me in working through disagreement with dialogue and discussion, rather than resorting to violence that tears at the fabric of our society," he said.
Meanwhile, two groups gathered at the park in Davis on Sunday where the statue was vandalized, local media reported. While one group demanded that the statue be restored, the other opposed such a move.
The City of Davis has launched an investigation into the incident.
"The City of Davis condemns the vandalism that destroyed the statue of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi in Central Park. We do not support any actions that include the destruction of property," the city said in a statement on Sunday.
"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," it said.
"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 move forward with peaceful and positive discourse and reconciliation," the city said in its statement.