A life-size bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, donated by the Indian government, was vandalized here in an act that Prime Minister Scott Morrison strongly condemned as “disgraceful”, causing shock and disappointment in the Indian-Australian community.
The incident came hours after Prime Minister Morrison unveiled the statue at the Australian Indian Community Center in Rowville on Friday with Indian Consul General Raj Kumar and other Australian leaders as part of a celebration. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day, The Age newspaper reported.
“It is disgraceful and deeply disappointing to see this level of disrespect,” Morrison said in Sunday’s report.
He said attacks on cultural sites will not be tolerated in a country that is the most successful multicultural and immigrant nation in the world.
He said: “Whoever is responsible for this has shown disrespect to the Indian community in Australia and should be ashamed.
The statue was donated by the Indian government.
Victoria Police said several offenders used an electric tool to behead the statue between 5.30pm on Friday and 5.30pm on Saturday, according to ABC News.
Police say detectives from the Knox Crime Unit are investigating the matter and are appealing for witnesses to provide information.
The Indian community in the city expressed shock at the incident, calling it an “act of inferiority”.
“The community is shocked and saddened. I don’t understand (don’t understand) why anyone would commit such an act of vandalism,” Surya Prakash Soni, president of the Federation of Indian Associations Victoria, said in ABC report. .
He said the Rowville center was the first Indian community center in Victoria and had been established after 30 years of efforts.
Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, head of Community Charity Australia India, said he was saddened that someone tried to vandalize the statue within 24 hours of it being inaugurated. SBS News quoted him as saying: “They are trying to amputate the head by grinding around it.
He said there were almost 300,000 Indians living in Victoria and “I never expected this to happen in Victoria.”