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'We Can Rebuild Building, But Not George Floyd's Life': Gandhi Mahal Owner Writes in Powerful Piece

FILE PHOTO: Protest against Minneapolis police after unarmed black man George Floyd was killed. (Photo Credit: AP)

FILE PHOTO: Protest against Minneapolis police after unarmed black man George Floyd was killed. (Photo Credit: AP)

In a Facebook post earlier, Hafsa said that even though it saddens her to see the restaurant being burnt, she heard her father say over the phone, 'Let the buildings burn. Justice needs to be served.'

When Minneopolis erupted in protests last week over the killing of African-American George Floyd in police custody, a famous Indian restaurant called 'Gandhi Mahal' was burnt down to the ground by protesters.

As fire engulfed the Gandhi Mahal, Hafsa Islam, whose family has been running the restaurant for ages wrote on Facebook, "This is Hafsa, Ruhel’s daughter writing, as I am sitting next to my dad watching the news, I hear him say on the phone; “ let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail”.

On Monday, Islam wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post on why she or her family isn't remorseful over their loss.

"I am angry for my dad, for all he worked for gone up in smoke. When I go to check on him, I see the pain in his face. The collection of local art, the microfarm in the basement, lost in the blaze. He watches the news some, and talks some on the phone, to media and family and friends. Then I overhear him: “Let my building burn. Justice needs to be served. Put those officers in jail.”

READ: Indian Restaurant Burnt Down, But Owner Wants Justice for George Floyd

But later, Islam had a sudden realisation. In the op-ed, she writes that it became clearer to her than ever that the issue at hand is greater than Gandhi Mahal. "We can rebuild a building, but we will never reclaim the life George Floyd didn’t get to live. For years, protesters tried peace. It didn’t work. If this is what it takes to get justice, then it will have been worth it," she wrote in the Washington Post.

Islam started with how she saw on Monday, Floyd being handcuffed and taken away by the police. "I remember this man’s face well. It sticks with me. He was crying, and he was in pain," she wrote, further adding how protests unfolded over the next few days before her family's restaurant was gutted.

Protests over George Floyd's death are escalating across US cities. An over 200-year-old historic St John’s church near White House has been vandalised and set on fire.

Protestors were also seen pulling down a flag from the landmark that opened in the year 1816 and popularly nicknamed the “Church of the Presidents” as beginning with James Madison, every president has been an occasional attendee of services.

In Washington, Fox News cameras were rolling as flames erupted in the newly renovated basement of the St. John’s Church parish house; it was unclear exactly how the fire started or how much damage had been done to the church.

A senior official said more than 50 Secret Service officers have been injured so far Sunday night, with the numbers expected to worsen, as rioters hurled bottles and Molotov cocktails.

There were protests in the area all day, and protesters set several fires on Sunday evening.

In Georgetown and elsewhere in America’s capital city, people spent the afternoon hammering plywood boards outside retail shops and restaurants in the hopes their businesses would escape the attacks that others a day earlier did not.

With inputs from Agencies