NEW DELHI: Indian Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has condemned the vandalism of the statue of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Pakistan’s city of Lahore, stating that this act attempts to erase the shared history of the subcontinent.
“Vandalism in Lahore of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, the great unifier of India, has to be strongly condemned. This act, which attempts to erase the shared history of the subcontinent shows how extremist ideologies feel emboldened in our volatile neighbourhood,” Union Minister Puri tweeted.
The nine-foot-tall structure in cold bronze was unveiled at the Lahore Fort on June 27, 2019, to mark the former ruler’s 180th death anniversary.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa also condemned the incident, stating Pakistan’s radicals have once again hurt Sikh sentiments by vandalising Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s statue.
“I have apprised Jt Secretary, Minister of External Affairs (PAI) JP Singh about this incident who has assured me that he would take up this matter with Pakistan embassy in India and ask them to take a strict action to curb such hateful vandalising events,” Sirsa said in a video posted on his Twitter handle.
TLP worker pulls down statue
A very emotional Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) worker pulled down Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s statue at the Lahore Fort in Pakistan. The statue had previously been vandalized by TLP workers on at least two different occasions in the past.
Pakistan’s information & Broadcasting Minister Fawad Choudhary tweeted a video and said “Shameful this bunch of illiterates are really dangerous for Pakistan image in the world”.
The statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been vandalised for the third time since it was placed at Pakistan’s Lahore Fort in December 2020 by a teenager, Zeeshan, who is suspected to have broken an arm of the statue on December 12, has been arrested.
A video is viral all over the internet, where a Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) worker is pulling down Ranjit Singh’s Statue. The king ruled the Sikh empire in the first half of the 19th century.
In the video first, he broke the hand of King Ranjit Singh and then demolished the whole figure. The nine feet tall statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the Lahore Fort was vandalized for a third time by workers of a Pakistani political party on Tuesday. As per a Twitter user who shared the video of the vandalism, the statue was pulled down by some Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan workers.
The TLP workers first broke the arm of the statue and then dislodged it completely. As per a Hindustan Times report, the two workers entered the fort as a disabled person and his helper. The man who pretended to have a leg disability hit the statue with the rod he was carrying.
Reportedly, the TLP worker also chanted slogans against the former ruler of Punjab. The police informed that the attackers were of the view that it’s against Islam to erect a statue of a Sikh ruler in a Muslim country.
This is not the first time, however, the statue was attacked since it was unveiled in June 2019. The nine feet tall statue, made of bronze, showing the regal Sikh emperor sitting on a horse, sword in hand was desecrated by a teenager who broke the arm of the statue with the intention to destroy it.
Zeeshan, the miscreant then had reportedly justified his act by saying, “he had committed atrocities against Muslims during his rule.” Prior to this, a mob had attacked the statue just after a few days of its placing.
Who is Maharaja Ranjit Singh?
Meanwhile, the nine-foot-tall statue of Singh, made of cold bronze by local artisans under the watch of the Fakir Khana Museum, shows the Maharaja sitting on a horse with a sword in hand.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or “Lion of Punjab”, was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.
Ranjit Singh fought his first battle alongside his father at the tender age of 10. After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the “Maharaja of Punjab” at 21 years of age.
He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the “Maharaja of Punjab” at age 21. His empire grew in the Punjab region under his leadership through 1839.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan is a far-right Islamist political party in Pakistan. The party was founded by late Khadim Hussain Rizvi in August 2015. It became the fifth largest party in the 2018 Pakistani general election but failed to win any seat in National Assembly and Punjab Assembly. However, it was successful in getting 3 seats in Sindh Assembly.