Raja Ranjit Singh’s statue vandalised in Lahore

Two men allegedly vandalised a statue of Punjab’s ruler Raja Ranjit Singh placed near his grave in Shahi Qila, Lahore.

The incident occurred on Saturday when the Qila had been routinely opened for visitors.

Two men — one pretending to have a leg disability carrying a wooden rod and another “helping him to walk” — entered the Qila.

Both men went straight to the statue and started hitting it with the wooden rods, resulting in the breakage of one of its arms and damage to other parts of the statue.

Security guards rushed to the spot and captured the attackers who were chanting slogans against the former rule of the Punjab.

Later, the attackers were handed over to the police, who registered a case against them on the complaint of Walled City Authority.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Syed Ghazanfar Shah told Dawn that the attackers were motivated and vandalised the statue “on the basis of religious biases”.

He said that investigation revealed that the attackers were claiming to be reincarnations of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi — a famous warrior in South Asian history.

He said the attackers were of the view that its against their religion to erect a statue in a Muslim country and they would repeat the act if the authorities did not remove it.

The statue of Singh was unveiled at the Lahore Fort, at the Mai Jinda’s Haveli, on June 27 — the warrior’s 180th death anniversary.

The nine feet tall statue, made of cold bronze, showed the regal Sikh emperor sitting on a horse, sword in hand, complete in Sikh attire.