India on Thursday said it was “deeply anguished” over the vandalism of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Ontario, Canada.
The statue is located in a peace park at Vishnu Mandir — a Hindu temple — in the city of Richmond Hill and was found defaced on Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported, citing York Regional Police.
Police are considering the vandalism a “hate bias-motivated incident,” the CBC reported.
Gandhi is widely credited for using non-violence to steer India towards independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
“We are deeply anguished by this hate crime that seeks to terrorize the Indian community.
It has led to increased concern and insecurity in the Indian community here,” the Indian High Commission in Canada said in a statement on Twitter.
The High Commission added that it has approached the Canadian government to investigate the incident and “ensure perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly.”
The spokesperson for York Regional Police, Constable Amy Boudreau, told CBC that someone desecrated the statue with “graphic words,” including “rapist” and “Khalistan.” Khalistan is the idea of an autonomous Sikh homeland, separate from India.
“We are distressed at the desecration of Mahatma Gandhi statue at Vishnu temple in Richmond Hill.
“We are in contact with Canadian authorities to investigate this hate crime.”