A statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Melbourne, Australia, was nearly decapitated, just a day after it was unveiled at the Australian Indian Community Centre in Rowville in the presence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The life-size bronze statue was targeted by an unidentified vandal with a power tool between Friday and Saturday, Victoria Police told ABC news. It had been unveiled on November 12.
Morrison has condemned the vandalism, and said such attacks would not be tolerated.
“Australia is the most successful multicultural and immigration nation in the world and attacks on cultural monuments will not be tolerated,” he said. “It is disgraceful and extremely disappointing to see this level of disrespect…Whoever is responsible for this has shown great disrespect to the Australian Indian community and should be ashamed.”
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Woods also condemned the act.
The Victoria Police have appealed for witnesses to contact them.
“It truly saddens us that someone would vandalize this statue within 24 hours of its unveiling. The aim of the statue was to celebrate India’s history, its 75th year of India’s independence and highlight the richness of culture across the country,” reads a statement by the Australian Indian Community Charitable Trust.
“It’s disappointing to see this level of disrespect of India’s history displayed towards the community in the most multicultural state in Australia. Whilst Mahatma Gandhi may not be a figurehead in the wider Australian community, his history is well known among all Indians.”