By CBS13 Staff

DAVIS (CBS13) – The Indian government is calling for an investigation into the vandalization of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a Davis park.

The government said in a news release on Saturday that the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. has approached the U.S. Department of State for a thorough investigation into the vandalization.

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At around 9 a.m. on Thursday, a Davis Central Park employee discovered the damage. The 6-foot-tall bronze statue had been broken off from its base at the ankles and its head was missing.

“The Government of India strongly condemns this malicious and despicable act against a universally respected icon of peace and justice,” the news release said.

The Indian government also said the Consulate General of India in San Francisco has spoken with the City of Davis and Davis law enforcement officials about the matter.

“The Mayor of Davis deeply regretted the incident and informed that they have initiated an investigation,” the news release said. “Local Indian community organizations have condemned the act of vandalism.”

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The statue of the political and cultural icon was installed in 2016 in a grassy area of the park. Opponents to the statue said Gandhi’s little-known history of racism and abuse make him an inappropriate role model.

The City of Davis issued a statement on the matter that can be read below:

“The City of Davis condemns the vandalism that destroyed the statue of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi in Central Park. We do not support any actions that include the destruction of property. We understand that our community reflects a diversity of views and values, but we expect that everyone will extend respect to each other and to shared spaces. We are committed to creating a City that is inclusive and lives up to our principles. We work diligently to ensure the physical and psychological safety of every resident. Acts of destruction are violent and shatter this safety.

We sympathize with those who are grieving the destruction of the statue and promise a thorough investigation and full accountability for those who committed this crime. We sympathize with those who have sincerely voiced their opposition to the statue and who feel unheard. But we reiterate our belief that the solution to solving such differences is never in violent acts but through compromise and dialogue. It is our sincere desire that our community move forward with peaceful and positive discourse and reconciliation.”

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