WASHINGTON DC: The statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Washington DC’s Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in front of the Indian embassy was defaced by Khalistani elements on Saturday, December 12 in protest against the farm laws passed by the Centre.

Posters and banners were propped up against the statue and a yellow flag was sighted draped over it. People were seen waving 'Khalistani' flags and raising pro-Khalistan slogans at the spot.

Officials of the Indian embassy said it has lodged a strong protest with US law enforcement agencies and has also taken up the matter with the US Department of State for an early investigation and action against the culprits under the applicable law.
"The Embassy strongly condemns this mischievous act by hooligans masquerading as protesters against the universally respected icon of peace and justice," officials said.

Anti-Farm Law Supporters Say Protest "Peaceful, Non-Violent"

Speaking to reporters, one of the organisers of the anti-farm laws protests, Mansimran Singh said: “Every person has a right for self-determination… It doesn’t matter that you are supporting the farmers with whatever two cents you have.”

On the question of Khalistan movement, he said, "If people in India in Punjab are raising a voice for secession, why is the government not asking them why... Sikhs have never harmed anybody ever in the history of the world, so we can't be called terrorists by any definition of that word."

"All over the country here in America, confederate statues were vandalised and then taken down. The people rose and said something that they discredit this kind of proportion of previous figures who were rapists, slave owners or people who were complacent to the same," he replied when asked why Gandhi's statue was vandalised.
Another protester, Manmeet Singh, an activist, said that the protest held in front of the Embassy was "peaceful and non-violent".

"We have been working on this issue for 14 years. I have personally witnessed the agrarian crisis like in Punjab and Maharashtra. Our protest was definitely a peaceful, non-violent protest," he said.

On the Khalistan flags being spotted during the protest, he said, "The organisers will raise the Khalistan issue on another platform on another day. We want the media to concern on the farmers' issue. This is not a regional issue."

Earlier on June 3 during the George Floyd protests too, the Mahatma's statue was vandalised by unknown persons. Post the desecration, an expert was called in to refurbish the statue.

The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 16, 2000, in the presence of then US president Bill Clinton.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for the last 17 days at the borders of Delhi against the three newly enacted agricultural laws.