In a bid to oppose a proposal, approved by the local authorities, to construct a Mahatma Gandhi statue outside Manchester Cathedral in the city, the students from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have launched a ‘Gandhi Must Fall’ drive.
The students’ union of the university, in an open letter to the Manchester City Council, the local authority of the UK city, have asked it to review its decision to allow construction of a nine-feet bronze sculpture of Gandhi, who is remembered for his non-violent approach to take on British rule in India and his anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
The protest has been lodged on the grounds of “Gandhi’s well-documented anti-black racism”.
“Gandhi referred to Africans as savages, half-heathen natives, uncivilised, dirty and like animals, to reference only a few of his vile comments," an Indian media agency reported, citing the content of the letter.
The letter further states that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in India is covering up human rights abuses in the country in Gandhi’s name and trying to erect his statues to build India’s image as an anti-imperialist state.
The students’ union, led by its Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan, has demanded the city council withdraw the permission.
“We demand that Manchester City Council refuse to be complicit in this, especially given the city’s history of anti-racist action, and to stand in solidarity with Manchester’s Black and Kashmiri communities (people from the Indian State which recently lost autonomy and was merged with the Indian Union),” demands the letter titled ‘Gandhi Must Fall’.