American Hindu Coalition | Press Release
President Donald J. Trump sent his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as his representative to offer respects at the Gandhi Memorial in Washington DC in advance of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Accompanying Mrs. Trump to offer respects was Ms. Srilekha Reddy Palle, Board of Directors member of the American Hindu Coalition. They offered flowers at the feet of the statue, seen as a sign of reverence in Hindu tradition.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, respectfully referred to as Mahatma, or great soul, is regarded as the Father of Modern India. Mahatma Gandhi successfully led his country to freedom through a non-violent movement against British colonial rule which ended in 1947. Gandhi often mentioned he drew inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita, a core Hindu scripture.
Mahatma Gandhi posthumously served as the spiritual guide for American Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he called for non-violent resistance towards repressive Jim Crow laws that targeted African Americans until 1965.
“Today’s event, done at the suggestion of the American Hindu Coalition, was a true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on behalf of President Donald Trump alongside Americans of Indian origin” said Palle. “This observance served as a stark contrast to the violent rioting and wanton destruction that plagued nation especially the Washington, D.C. in early June.”
On June 3rd the same Gandhi Memorial was defaced with profane graffiti during the Antifa led riots, done in the name of the self-professed Marxist-oriented “Black Lives Matter” movement. US Ambassador to India Ken Juster immediately offered an official apology to the people of India on behalf of the American government. On July 3rd, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun re-inaugurated the memorial with Ambassador of India Taranjit Sandhu after it was restored to its original grandeur. Since the vandalism occurred, President Trump has referenced the defacement of the Gandhi Memorial as a tragedy of leftist extremism on several occasions in official remarks and to the press.
“This is yet another reminder that the Trump Administration and the Republican Party stand firmly beside India and the Diaspora in the United States,” said American Hindu Coalition President Harsh Sethi.