Sri Lanka Brief
NewsStrong protest by India; Gandhi statue being rebuilt

Strong protest by India; Gandhi statue being rebuilt

India yesterday strongly protested and expressed concern over the vandalizing of a statue of India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi in Batticaloa town and offered assistance to restore it.

A spokesman for the Indian High Commission said the protest was lodged with the External Affairs Ministry. “We have urged the Ministry to instruct the relevant authorities to carry out an inquiry into the act of vandalism,” he said.

The statue of Mahatma Gandhi was among five statues which were vandalized in Batticaloa town by an unknown gang.

Soon after India’s protest, the External Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying, “It has been brought to the notice of the Ministry of External Affairs that several important statues in the Batticaloa town have been vandalized. The Inspector General of Police has been instructed to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation into these incidents to identify motives and culprits behind these acts of vandalism”.

The Batticaloa Police yesterday sent a team of masons and sculptors to rebuild the damaged statue.
Two police teams have been deployed for the probe, but no arrests have been made so far.
Gandhi Seva Movement President A. Selvendran said the statue was declared open in 1960 by then parliamentarian S. Rajadurai.

He said the organization had lodged a complaint to the Batticaloa police about the damage caused to the statue.

The other statues damaged were those the scout movement founder Lord Baden Powell, scholar Vivekanandar and poet Periyathamby Pillai. However no action has been taken yet to restore them
 By Chris Kamalendran

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