Lahore police have arrested a teenager for vandalising a statue of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, who ruled Punjab in the 19th century, installed in front of the Haveli of Rani Jindan at Lahore Fort.
Police said that the boy Zaheer — a resident of Harbanspura — was inspired by the speeches of late firebrand cleric Khadim Rizvi. As per the teenager, Ranjeet Singh killed Muslims and converted Badshahi Mosque into a stable, adding that these reasons compelled him to destroy the statue of the Sikh ruler.
It was learned that Zaheer broke the arm in an attempt to damage the statue. He was caught by the security guards on the spot, who stopped him from further damaging the statue.
A Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) spokesperson said that a case has been lodged against the suspect at the Tibbi City police station. Strict action will be taken against the accused, it said, adding that the statue would be repaired by the WCLA at earliest.
The nine-foot-tall statue of Ranjeet Singh, who died in 1839, was unveiled in June 2019 on his 180th death anniversary. The statue, made of cold bronze, depicts the emperor sitting on a horse with a sword in his hand. Popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled over the Sikh empire in the Punjab region in the early half of the 19th century.
After almost decade-long infightings, his empire came to an end in 1848 with the colonisation of Punjab by the East Indian Company.