Editor,

A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi erected in Davis Central Park, Davis, California, in 2016, was cut off at the ankles and its head was sawed in two recently. We, the members of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition, do not know who did this or why but believe it should be investigated as a hate crime.

We are deeply saddened to hear of this despicable act. We condemn this cowardly desecration of a statue that stood as an icon for world nonviolence and peace, who inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Gandhi is a symbol of pride for millions of people who believe in nonviolent action. His approach directly influenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who argued that the Gandhian philosophy was ‘the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

The attack came to light just two days before the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, on Jan. 30, 1948. We believe that this incident should not only be investigated as a hate crime but that the statue should be replaced.

The Rev. Jim Mitulski, interim pastor, Island United Church in Foster City

Oakland

Diane Fahrner

San Mateo

The letter writers are the co-presidents of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition.

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(6) comments

Dilip Amin, Ph. D.

On behalf of the Hindu community of San Francisco Bay Area, I thank Peninsula Multifaith Coalition and all those who wrote in support of the issue above. It is sad that people are taking laws in their hands. We do not understand why would someone have so much hatred for Mahatma Gandhi ji to desecrate the statue this way. I hope the statue will be replaced to make a point that intolerance will not be tolerated in America.

The San Mateo NAACP stands with the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition in condemning this despicable act of hate against the Hindu community.

wlydecker

So do I, but am curious to know if the NAACP condemned the toppling of other statues?

Dilip Amin, Ph. D.

Note there are some differences in this case in Davis verses others. This is an act most probably by a solo person and desecrated in the middle of night. Gandhi's head was cut in half, displaying hatred.

Patrick Henry

I think we should come out in unison against any statue that is vandalized. Too often we only speak out when are idol or hero is vandalized. We should be concerned as Americans when anyone's statue gets vandalized as more and more are coming under assault and destroyed. Diane, I am sorry for what happened to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, I think you now know the feeling for the rest of us when statues of Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson are torn down.

Michael B. Reiner, PhD

This was a despicable and cowardly act. While the perpetrator and motive are unknown, I agree that the act appears to be motivated by hate, not just vandalism (sawing the head in half). It should be investigated and the statue should be replaced. There are many minorities in our nation who live peacefully and quietly in the face of prejudice. This may have been an attack on ethnicity or religion. Or, displaced aggression against an icon of nonviolent social change. End hate.

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