The Sikh community in Pakistan’s Peshawar has stated that it would bring the statue of elementary Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, launched at the Lahore Fort, to the city if the government in Punjab province cannot shield it after it was destroyed by a religious activist. A nine-feet tall cold bronze statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was on Tuesday destroyed by an activist of the barred Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
In a surfaced video, the accused, who has been captured, could be seen chanting slogans, breaking the arm of the statue and wrecking Singh’s bust from the horse and throwing it on ground before being pulled by another man. Gorpal Singh, the leader of the Sikh community in Peshawar, on Tuesday mentioned they would bring the statue to the city if the Punjab authority cannot shield it from criminals.
Singh said that a deputation of Sikhs would go to Lahore, which is the capital of Punjab, to bring the statue to Peshawar. The Punjab government should avoid displaying the statue of Ranjit Singh time and again if it could not save it, he said.
He stated that a picture of Ranjit Singh was exhibited at Historic Balahisar Fort in Peshawar around six years back and till date no injury had been done to it, while the Punjab government could not save a single statue. Singh mentioned that the frequent onslaughts on the statue hurt the community’s feelings and sentiments.
This is not the first time that the statue has been objected to. The arm of the statue was vandalized in Lahore last year. It was also destroyed in August 2019 by two young men. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire, which dominated the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.
The statue shows the majestic Sikh emperor sitting on a horse, sword in hand, complete in Sikh wardrobes. Sculpted by local artists, under the patronage of the Fakir Khana Museum, the statue is meant to breed the feeling of the majestic being present, with its real-life proportions, and was uncovered on his 180th death anniversary. Ranjit Singh departed in 1839.