The damaged statue of Mahatma Gandhi, with the broken left hand and missing spectacles, at MGM Medical College and Hospital on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The state medical college and hospital named after the Mahatma, with a thana on campus, can’t take care of his statue.
Unidentified persons damaged an 8ft statue of Mahatma Gandhi — in his iconic Dandi march pose complete with a stick — on the campus of the state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital in Mango in the early hours of Thursday.
The statue’s left hand and stick were damaged, while the spectacles were taken off.
This occurred despite the statue being placed on a 5ft platform and encircled by a 2ft high fence.
The damage was reported to college principal A.N. Mishra at 8am by the sole private security guard posted on the campus at night.
“As soon as I got information, I visited the spot with my colleagues and found the broken pieces lying near the statue. We have lodged a written complaint with MGM police against unidentified persons. We have also requested police to intensify night patrolling to curb mischief-mongers,” Mishra said.
The principal further said the night security guard posted sat at the main gate, from where the statue was roughly 250m away.
“The guard on duty denied seeing any unknown loiterer. We usually close our main gate at night but there is a side entrance that we can’t close. The MGM police station is located on campus and policemen on night shift use the side entrance. We suspect vandals also used this gate,” he said.
Mishra added instructions were issued to hostel superintendents R.K. Mahto and R.K. Mandhan and hostel warden A.P. Singh to keep watch on the statue with the help of student boarders.
“I have asked hostel authorities to constitute a vigil team and inform us or the police if they notice anything untoward on campus,” he said.
MGM police station officer-in-charge Rati Bhan Singh confirmed receiving the complaint.
“We have asked college authorities to keep the main gate open so that we can keep night vigil. We are probing into the incident. Even students can be involved,” he said.
College authorities have started talks with sculptors to repair the Mahatma’s statue as soon as possible.
The statue, installed on campus in 1961, was vandalised in March. Even then, unknown persons had damaged its left hand.