London, June 9 – An iconic statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the UK has been vandalised in the city of Leicester apparently in protest against the 1984 Operation Bluestar military raid on the Golden Temple. Graffiti saying “Never forget 84” and “We want justice #84” has been sprayed on the base of the statue in Leicester’s famous Golden Mile of Indian-origin restaurants and shops.
It is believed that the messages are in reference to Operation Bluestar in June, 1984, when the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest Sikh shrine, was raided by the Indian Army to flush out Sikh extremists holed up inside.
Police are investigating after the vandalism was discovered Saturday. Sikhs from Leicester and around the UK Sunday marched through London to mark the 30th anniversary of the siege. Reacting to the incident, Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said damaging the Gandhi statue was “foolish”.
“To think that somebody has felt it necessary, either an individual or a group of people, to vandalise in this foolish and idiotic way, such an important part of the heritage of India, as well as the heritage of Leicester, I think is a disgrace,” he said.
Leicester City Council workers removed graffiti from the plinth of the bronze monument this morning. Leicestershire Police is treating the incident as criminal damage and have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.