The 9 ft statue had been unveiled at the Lahore Fort complex in June 2019. The statue, made of bronze, was installed to mark the 180th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was the first king of the Sikh Empire, ruled Punjab for over 40 years before he died in 1839.
“#Shameful this bunch of illiterates are really dangerous for Pakistan image in the world,” Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Hussain wrote in his tweet, condemning the act.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi in 2015, is an Islamist political party in Pakistan. In the 2018 general polls in Pakistan, it emerged as the fifth largest party but failed to win any seat in the National Assembly (parliament) of Pakistan.
They had used sticks to damage the statue. In June 2019, Maharaja Singh”s statue was unveiled in a colourful ceremony in which several Sikh delegates from India, Pakistan and other countries had participated.
The event was organised by Bobby Singh Bansal from the UK, in collaboration with the Walled City of Lahore Authority. The statue depicted the regal Sikh king sitting on a horse, sword in hand, complete in Sikh attire.
Sculpted by local artists, under the aegis of the Fakir Khana Museum, the statue is meant to invoke a feeling that the king is still around, which was why it was built with the body in real-life proportions.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, popularly called Sher-e-Punjab, died in 1839. “The project was meant to commemorate the 180th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and forge a lasting friendship amongst the people of Punjab,” UK-based historian Bobby Singh Bansal had said. His organisation SK Foundation based in the UK had commissioned the statue in 2016.