A statue of the pacifist leader of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi, has become the latest target for removal by radical leftists amidst a purge of historical monuments in the UK.
Over 6,000 people have signed a petition calling for the removal of the Gandhi statue in Leicester, England. The petition accuses the icon of peaceful and non-violent protests of being a “facist [sic] racist and sexual predator”.
“For years he has been idolised and taught in school curriculum. For a lot of people in my community, he has bought inconsolable suffering against my people. As a result, I do not wish to see a statue and praise of that kind of character,” the author of the petition, Kerri Pangulier, wrote.
The accusations likely stem from comments made by Gandhi during his time in South Africa, then part of the British Empire, which were highly disparaging of black Africans, and the fact he said “I do not believe Herr Hitler to be as bad as he is portrayed” in 1940.
Statues of the independence leader also stand in Manchester and London. The statue in London is amongst several in Parliament Square, including ones commemorating Sir Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, that have been boarded up by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, over fears of vandalism.
When I commissioned Gandhi statue 5-years ago, never thought I’d see this.
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” pic.twitter.com/uU2SVZ1RUo
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) June 13, 2020
Claudia Webbe, the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Leicester East, said that the petition to remove the statue of Gandhi is a “massive distraction” from the wider Black Lives Matter movement.
Webbe said that the Indian leader “was part of creating a movement in the same way that Martin Luther King created a movement,” according to the BBC.
“His form of peaceful protest, like Black Lives Matter, is a force for change,” she said, adding: “There is not any desire from the black community to move that symbol of change.”
Although the petition to remove the monument is not directly linked to the Black Lives Matter protests, it comes amidst a widespread campaign to remove historical statues throughout the country.
A hard-left activist group has created a hit-list of monuments across the country that should be targeted for removal over their supposed racist connotations.
Last week, London mayor Sadiq Khan announced that he would be creating a Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm that will review historical monuments, statues, art, and street names in the British capital in order to reflect the city’s “diversity”.
The Labour Party as a whole followed suit, announcing that all 130 local councils controlled by the party will review local historical monuments to determine their “appropriateness” and to see if they should be removed over ties to Britain’s colonial history or the slave trade.
Churchill Statue Imprisoned In Grey Box to Protect It from BLM Vandals https://t.co/eo22i9cx6Z
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 12, 2020
Monuments to Abraham Lincoln, Churchill, and former British Monarch Queen Victoria were all defaced during Black Lives Matter protests across the country over the past week. Mr Khan claimed that the move to board up the statues of Gandhi and Churchill was taken to prevent “far-right” groups from targeting the statues, despite the stated purpose of the groups to protect statues from radical leftists.
“The extreme far-right are intending to come to central London, one of their justifications for doing so is to protect these statues, but also they are intending to remove statues of people like Nelson Mandela,” Khan said per The Telegraph.
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka