A statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who ruled over Punjab for close to 40 years in the early 19th century, was vandalised by two men in this Pakistani city on Saturday (August 10).
The nine-feet statue, made of cold bronze, was unveiled at the Lahore Fort in June on the 180th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Singh, the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, died in 1839.
Police have arrested two men and registered a case against them under the country’s blasphemy laws. The two men were angry after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir last week. The suspects belonged to Tehreek-Labbaik Pakistan of radical cleric Maulana Khadim Rizvi.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority, that is responsible for the matters of the Lahore Fort, has expressed shock and vowed to repair the statue soon after Eid. “This is quite unfortunate incident. We will enhance security at the Lahore Fort so that no such incident should take place in the future,” Walled City of Lahore Authority spokesperson Tania Qureshi said.
“The statues restoration will be carried out from next week. Once it is repaired it will be opened for the public again,” she added.
It took eight months to complete the statue of the Sikh ruler sitting on his favourite horse named ‘Kahar Bahar’ with a sword in hand. The horse was a gift from Dost Muhammad Khan, the founder of the Barazkai dynasty.
The statue was built and installed by the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) in collaboration with the UK-based Sikh Heritage Foundation, which funded the project.