Outrage in UK after Sikh soldier’s statue is vandalised
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.”