Out­rage in UK af­ter Sikh sol­dier’s statue is van­dalised

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LON­DON: CRE­ATED BY SCULPTOR LUKE PERRY, THE STATUE WAS IN­STALLED IN WEST MIDLANDS AS A TRIBUTE TO SIKH SOL­DIERS WHO FOUGHT IN THE TWO WORLD WARS

Sikh cam­paign groups and oth­ers re­acted with out­rage on Satur­day af­ter it was dis­cov­ered that the Lions of the Great War statue, de­pict­ing a Sikh sol­dier and un­veiled in the West Midlands on November 4, was van­dalised with the words “Se­poys no more”.

The bronze 10-foot statue, in­stalled to hon­our Sikh sol­diers who fought in World War 1, was in­au­gu­rated with much fan­fare at Guru Nanak Gur­d­wara in Smeth­wick, near Birm­ing­ham. A thick line was also drawn through the words “Great War”.

Jatin­der Singh, pres­i­dent of the gur­d­wara, said he was extremely dis­ap­pointed: “There was some van­dal­ism to the back wall overnight which is very dis­ap­point­ing. The graf­fiti was cleaned off and the mat­ter was re­ported to the po­lice.

“What makes this in­ci­dent par­tic­u­larly dis­tress­ing is the com­plete dis­re­gard and lack of re­spect for the sig­nif­i­cance of the statue and in­scrip­tions, in­stalled re­cently to com­mem­o­rate the losses felt by many South Asian fam­i­lies who lost their dear ones dur­ing the First World War and mark 100 years since the end of the Great War.”

Sev­eral peo­ple con­demned the van­dal­ism on so­cial me­dia.

Cre­ated by sculptor Luke Perry, the statue was in­stalled as Bri­tain and other coun­tries mark 100 years of World War 1. The con­tri­bu­tion of thou­sands of Sikh and In­di­ans sol­diers in the two world wars was re­called.

Jatin­der Singh said at the in­stal­la­tion cer­e­mony: “Th­ese men vol­un­teered to de­fend the free­doms we en­joy to­day. The me­mo­rial will en­sure that this part is never for­got­ten. The mon­u­ment makes us feel proud to be Sikh and proud to be Bri­tish.”

Labour Party MP Preet Kaur Gill said: “De­spite be­ing small in num­ber in Bri­tish In­dia, Sikhs played an im­por­tant part in the war.”

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