A Buddha statue, which was discovered while digging the foundation for a house in Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Mardan district, was smashed into pieces by local construction workers on Saturday because they considered the relic to be unIslamic, drawing the ire of the authorities concerned.
The statue was discovered in Mardan’s Takht Bhai area, which was a part of the Gandhara civilisation, while the workers were digging to lay the foundation for the under-construction house.
A video, which has since gone viral on social media, showed the construction workers smashing the Buddha statue using a sledgehammer and expressing their resentment against the unIslamic relic.
Local media quoted an official of the Pakistan tourism department, who said that the authorities have taken note of the incident and are looking into the matter.
Abdul Samad, director, Archaeology and Museums in KPK said, “We have located the area and we will have those involved arrested soon.”
Pakistani media has reported that four people involved in vandalising the statue have been arrested.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s old name is Ghandhara and the region is a highly revered place for the followers of Buddhism.
Excavated in 1836 for the first time, archaeologists have dug out hundreds of relics made of clay, stucco, and terracotta in the area.
In 2017, two rare and ancient Buddha statues were unearthed at an archeological site in Bhamala in Hariput district. The largest ever statue found at the site depicts the death of Buddha and the second statue was a Buddha with a double halo.
The statue depicting the death scenario was the oldest of its kind in the world. It was also verified by the American laboratory which identified it as older than third century BC.
Peshawar Museum is also known for displaying one of the world’s largest collection of architectural pieces on Buddha.
A couple of years ago, the museum’s tallest statue of Buddha in schist stone was transported to Switzerland for display there for 100 days at an international exhibition.