World War I Sikh soldier’s statue vandalised in UK

The Indian community in the West Midlands town of Smethwick in England are outraged after vandals targeted the statue of a Sikh soldier, above (Image Courtesy:@sandwellcouncil), unveiled less than a week ago in honour of Indian soldiers or ‘sepoys’ who fought for Britain during World Wars and other conflicts.

The incident comes as some 70 world leaders were gathering in Paris for Sunday events to mark the centenary of Armistice that ended World War I.

The 3-metre bronze statue named ‘Lions of the Great War’ was vandalised by unknown rogue elements who blacked out the words ‘Great War’ with spray paint and added the words ‘sepoys no more’  and ‘1 Jarnail’. The graffiti was later removed.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick had commissioned the monument.

Local police are examining the CCTV footage and working closely with worshippers and gurdwara management.

The gurdwara donated around $25,947 for the sculpture while the local Sandwell Council invested in creating public space for it.

Jatinder Singh, president of the gurdwara, said such vandalism cannot undermine the significance and the message the monument gives about the sacrifices of 74,000 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I.

Preet Kaur Gill, the UK’s first female Sikh MP, said the British Indian Army was larger than all the Commonwealth forces combined that they fought alongside,.