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New Delhi [India], August 17 (ANI): Underlining Pakistan's dismal record in protecting Hindus and Sikhs, BJP President JP Nadda on Tuesday condemned the vandalization of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore and questioned the silence of authorities related to such attacks.
Speaking to ANI, Nadda said, "It is deplorable to see the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked in Pakistan. To make matters worse, the silence of the Pakistani authorities is even more deafening."
"It makes many wonder, is the Pakistani state complicit in such attacks against minorities?", he asked.
This incident has happened for the third time in recent years. Ranjit Singh's statue was also vandalized in December 2020. The Lahore police have arrested a man and a hammer has been seized from his possession, Samaa TV reported.
The nine-foot-tall structure in cold bronze was unveiled at the Lahore Fort on June 27, 2019, to mark the former ruler's 180th death anniversary.
The BJP leader further said that Pakistan's record in protecting Hindus and Sikhs is anyway very dismal. "We demand that the perpetrators of this heinous attack be punished and the statue be restored to its full glory," he said.
He added, "Pakistan must also introspect about why such elements get a free run there and destroy the social fabric. A nation that can't guarantee basic respect to diversity, can hardly be expected to live up to humanitarian values."
Earlier in the day, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also condemned the vandalism of the statue of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Pakistan's city of Lahore, stating that this act attempts to erase the shared history of the subcontinent.
"Vandalism in Lahore of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, the great unifier of India, has to be strongly condemned. This act, which attempts to erase the shared history of the subcontinent shows how extremist ideologies feel emboldened in our volatile neighbourhood," Union Minister Puri tweeted.
Earlier today, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa also condemned the incident, stating Pakistan's radicals have once again hurt Sikh sentiments by vandalising Maharaja Ranjit Singh's statue.
"I have apprised Jt Secretary, Minister of External Affairs (PAI) JP Singh about this incident who has assured me that he would take up this matter with Pakistan embassy in India and ask them to take a strict action to curb such hateful vandalising events," Sirsa said in a video posted on his Twitter handle.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, known as Lion of Punjab, Singh was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire who ruled over Punjab for close to four decades. (ANI)