MELBOURNE, Nov 18: Attempts were made by some unidentified persons to decapitate a life-sized bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi that was unveiled on November 12 by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Australian Indian Community Center in the Melbourne suburb of Rowville.
The incident was reported on November 12-13, after which the Victoria police appealed for witnesses or anyone with CCTV or dash cam or anyone with information to contact the investigating authority.
Prime Minister Morrison has said he was devastated to hear about the vandalism.
“Australia is the most successful multicultural and immigration nation in the world and attacks on cultural monuments will not be tolerated,” Morrison has 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,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
Jason Wood, the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, who was also at the unveiling, has said it was a “disgraceful act”.
“Australia celebrates everyone’s culture and traditions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Surya Prakash Soni, president of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, has termed the vandalism as a “low act”.
“The community is very shocked and sad,” he said.
“Mahatma Gandhi is a symbol of peace and non-violence. He is not only an Indian leader but a global leader.
“I don’t (understand) why anyone would do such a low act of vandalism,” Soni was quoted as saying in a media report.
“An unknown number of offenders have used a power tool to damage the bronze statue on Kingsley Close sometime between 5:30pm on Friday, November 12 and 5:30pm on Saturday, November 13,” the report quoted a Victoria Police spokesperson as saying.