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July 19, 2020

Newly-discovered Buddha statue destroyed in Mardan

Top Story

July 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A recently discovered Buddha statue was smashed into pieces by local construction workers and a cleric on Saturday in Mardan. The relic was discovered while digging the foundation for a house.

A video of the act, which has since gone viral on social media, showed the construction workers, along with a cleric, smashing the Buddha statue using a sledgehammer.

According to international reports, the statue was destroyed allegedly on the order of a local cleric. “Your nikah would cease to exist and you will no more be a believer if the statue isn’t disposed of,” the cleric allegedly told the people at the site, who then followed his orders to destroy the relic, which was accidentally discovered in a good condition.

Abdul Samad, Director of the Archaeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the authorities have located the area, where the incident occurred and those involved in vandalism would be held accountable.

Police have arrested all those offenders who were seen smashing the statue, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Information Kamran Bangash said.

Taking to Twitter, Kamran Bangash said, “All offenders who were seen smashing an antique Gandharan Buddhist statue in Mardan have been arrested by KP Police.”

He added that a case has been registered against them under relevant sections of the Antiquity Act 2016.

Takht Bhai, where the statue was discovered, is a part of the Gandhara civilisation, where Buddhism thrived until the 8th or 9th centuries when Islam first began to gain sway in the region. Since 1836, when it was first excavated, archaeologists have dug out hundreds of relics made of clay, stucco, and terracotta in the area. Due to its historical and religious significance, it is a popular destination for Buddhist tourists from Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea etc. The Buddhist monastery is included in the World Heritage List.

Commenting on the incident, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said: “If progressive people of Pakistan remain silent observers and neutral, all hopes of progressive and modern Pakistan ll be dashed”.

“Social degradation is immense and silence is not an option unless you want this society to be as dead as (a) graveyard.”