LAHORE: The statue of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, placed outside the Haveli of Rani Jindan at Lahore fort, has been once again vandalised by a person named Zaheer Ishaq, Pakistan Today learnt on Friday.
It was learnt that Zaheer broke the arm with the attempt to damage the statue. He was caught by the security guards on the spot after inquiring about the incident.
Zaheer said that he is a staunch follower of late Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi. He is against the placing of Ranjeet Singh’s statue at Lahore fort, because Ranjeet had converted Badshahi Mosque into a horse stable.
He further said that Ranjeet had killed several Muslims and harmed the sentiments of Muslim community. This was the reason behind his attempt to damage the statue.
While talking to Pakistan Today on this incident, a tourist at Lahore Fort, Shahid Hussain, expressed his distress over the situation and said: “People should be tolerant and this is what our religion teaches us as well. I do not understand that why this man came to damage the statue. The management of Lahore Fort should be more vigilant, as such incidents will affect our image all over the world.”
Khalid Raza, another tourist at Lahore Fort, said: “There was no need of placing a controversial statue at Lahore Fort. I think the person did right, as Ranjeet Singh is not in our good books. Knowing the fact that Ranjeet had damaged the sanctity and dignity of many mosques, including Badshahi Mosque, why we have placed his statue at this eminent site to make him a hero?”
“We need to teach people about tolerance and discouraged such acts. As people did not spare the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, why would they spare the statue of Ranjeet Singh? People in our society are turning into furious mobs and damaging the country’s image. Tolerance needs to be taught at all levels. I would request the management of Lahore Fort to be more active and vigilant, though they caught the person on spot.”
Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) spokesperson Tania Qureshi commented that it was no doubt a disgraceful incident. “The person broke the arm of the statue of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. He was trying to damage the entire statue but I think our guards on duty managed to save it. An FIR has been lodged against Zaheer and he has been handed over to the police at Tibbi Police Station. Strict action will be taken against the accused. The statue would soon be repaired by the WCLA,” the spokesperson said.
This was the second incident of this nature at Lahore Fort. Previously, a mob attacked the statue just after a few days of its placing at Lahore Fort.