The monument to the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan was recently set on fire and vandalized in a move that is believed aimed at protesting the worldwide known Indian political and public figure’s thoughts about the so-called “Armenian genocide.” Today, Armenian police said they have identified and detained a man who is suspected in vandalizing the Mahatma Gandhi statue.
“The statue was desecrated at night on April 28. The memorial plaque with the name of Gandhi was demounted from the monument. The public organization, known as “Yerevan Alternative Municipality,” posted photos of the desecrated statue on its Facebook page, stressing that the monument should be demolished,” Caspian News reports.
“Gandhi was a hater of Armenians and was an ally of Ataturk. We will fight for this monument to be demolished. He has no place in Yerevan,” the organization wrote in the Facebook post.
The organization described Gandhi as an anti-Armenian figure and assured the residents of Yerevan that the statue would be removed from the capital city. It has also scheduled an extraordinary session on May 1 to discuss the immediate dismantling of Mahatma Gandhi’s monument. Supporters of the organization called Gandhi “an animal” and those who installed his statue in Yerevan “traitors.” At the same time, the Indian Ambassador to Armenia rejected the Yerevan Alternative Municipality’s invitation to attend the discussions.
Meanwhile, two days before the statue was set on fire, a group of protesters has reportedly thrown eggs at the statue.
Gandhi’s statue in Yerevan was erected earlier this year upon the decision of the Yerevan city hall and stirred serious protests among Armenians. They opposed the installation of the monument, calling for an investigation into Gandhi’s legacy, who refused to recognize the so-called “Armenian genocide” and had friendly relations with Turkey’s first President Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. For the protesters, Gandhi is a “Turkophile” - a person who has a solid positive predisposition or sympathy toward the government, culture, history, or people of Turkey.
The vandalistic attack on the statue of distinguished Indian politician Mahatma Gandhi is not the first of a kind in Yerevan. Shortly after the war with Azerbaijan, Armenians desecrated a monument dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. The paint was sprayed all over the Hebrew writings on the “To Live and Not Forget” Holocaust memorial in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan. The World Jewish Congress described the desecration as a “vile anti-Semitic graffiti.” The reasons for the vandalistic attack have been reportedly linked to Israel’s selling weapons to Azerbaijan and having strategic relations with the Muslim-majority country.
Armenian officials, including Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City Hall have strongly condemned the damaging and burning of the pedestal of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
A suspect that has been apprehended today is a 61-year-old man from Yerevan.