The statue of 19th century Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been vandalised for the third time in Lahore, Pakistan, reports said.
"Shameful this bunch of illiterates are really dangerous for Pakistan's image in the world," commented Pakistan Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Twitter.
Member of a radical party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) pulled down Ranjit Singh's statue at the Lahore Fort. The statue had previously been vandalized by TLP workers on at least two different occasions in the past.
In a video shared on Twitter, the man could be seen striking the statue with his bare hands and damaging its arms and other parts.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh's statue in Lahore attacked by Islamist extremist outfit Tehreek e Labbaik Pakistan today. Pakistan now begins to reap fruits of Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Imagine what future holds. pic.twitter.com/WHGqNgiC6P— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 17, 2021
The statue, which was unveiled at the 'Mai Jinda' haveli in Lahore in June 2019, was earlier vandalised by radical Islamists in August 2019 and then again in December last year.
A teenage visitor had broken the arm of the Maharaja's statue in December 2020. After he was nabbed, he told the police that his 'religious sentiments were hurt seeing the statue of a Sikh ruler at the fort.
Following last year's incident, the authorities had closed the enclosure which displays the bronze figure of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
According to the report, the latest vandalisation of the statue was carried out by a person named Rizwan at the Lahore fort. He was chanting something in a foreign tongue as he breached the railings around the statue. He could be seen pulling the parts of the statue in the social media post. He would break a part, that would fall away and he too, along with it.
Rizwan would stand up again and breach the railings push and pull until one more piece would fall off.
Rizwan has been apprehended and sent behind bars for vandalising the statue.
The nine-foot statue is made of cold bronze. It shows the regal Sikh emperor sitting on a horse, sword in hand, complete in Sikh attire.