Sikh Soldiers’ Memorial in UK Vandalized Hours after WW I Tribute
Over 74,000 soldiers from India died during World War I and several events were being organized in various countries to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers from around the world who participated in the war effort between 1914 and 1918, as part of the centenary of the Great War.
CHANDIGARH, Nov. 12, 2018: Vandalism at UK’s newly inaugurated Indian War Memorial has been harshly condemned by the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has called for stringent action against culprits of the apparent racial attack on the occasion of the World War I centenary.
“The vandalism of the 10-foot-high statue, depicting a Sikh soldier of the 15th Sikh battalion, symbolic of the contribution of South Asian soldiers to World War I, was outrageous,” the Chief Minister released a statement, expressing “serious concern and distress” over the incident.
The incident comes in the wake of several racial attacks against Sikhs in the UK and other Western nations in recent months.
The statue was unveiled last Sunday and was damaged hours before a planned remembrance event to honor the Sikhs soldiers who laid down their lives during the Great War.
As per statistics over 74,000 soldiers from India died during World War I. Several events are being organized in various countries to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers from around the world who participated in the war effort between 1914 and 1918, as part of the centenary of the Great War.
The Punjab Chief Minister has said that the “shocking and horrific act” was clearly an effort by radical racist elements to undermine the contribution of Sikhs soldiers to the War and to create an environment of hatred and enmity against the community.
“The anguish of the Sikh community over the incident was understandable,” he added, urging the UK authorities to go all out to identify and punish the culprits. Mr. Singh said that more than the financial loss, it was the “pain caused to the sentiments of the Sikh community, which had lost thousands of men to the war, in distant lands, far from their homes.”
The bronze sculpture had been built through contributions to the tune of over 20,000 pounds pooled in by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick for the bronze sculpture, while the local Sandwell Council had invested in creating the public space with seating and lighting to house the new monument.
Hundreds attended the inaugural event including Labour Party MP Preet Kaur Gill, UK’s first female Sikh MP.