- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Officials at California State University-Fresno are facing increasing pressure to remove a statue on campus depicting the late Indian freedom leader Mahatma Gandhi.

“How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude towards the Black race and see that we are glorifying him by erecting a statue on our campus?” asks a Change.org petition, which is nearing 5,000 signatures.

“Gandhi was deeply prejudiced against all minorities, from black Africans, Jews, to low-caste Hindus,” it states. “He also demonstrated a shocking lack of morality, from sleeping naked with young girls to employing nonviolence merely as a tool of political expediency.”

The petition, launched last week by Akhnoor Sidhu, demands that the statue, which stands among figures of Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Jane Addams in the Fresno State Peace Garden, be removed “in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

A counter-petition seeking to preserve the statue had only 108 signatures as of Wednesday, Campus Reform reported.

Fresno State President Joseph Castro responded in a statement last week defending the statue, explaining that its presence did not necessarily honor every aspect of Gandhi’s life.

“The statues erected in the garden over the years are tributes to a diverse group of individuals who dedicated their lives in the pursuit of equality, social change and justice through peaceful methods,” Mr. Castro wrote. “The garden reminds us all that change is possible, and that the fabric of society is greatly strengthened when individuals have the courage to stand up for a just cause.

“All four individuals recognized in the Fresno State Peace Garden — Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Jane Addams — embodied the spirit of peaceful and constructive activism,” he wrote. “This transcendent quality is what the garden memorializes. It does not necessarily honor every facet of their lives.”

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