According to The Guardian, a 10 feet tall war memorial of a Sikh soldier, which was unveiled in the United Kingdom a few days back, has been reported to be vandalized, with controversial messages strewn over it.

I Am Birmingham

The statue, which was named ‘Lions of the Great War’, was supposed to commemorate the lives of the Sikh soldiers who were a part of the British infantry and had significantly contributed to the British victory in World War One.

Birmingham Mail

Preet Kaur Gill, the MP for Ladywood, during its unveiling, emphasized the contribution that the Sikhs made,

Sikhs have had a long-established community here in Great Britain for generations. Despite being small in number in British India, Sikhs played an important part in the war making up more than a fifth of the British Indian Army.

The statue, which was unveiled on November 4 outside Guru Nanak Gurudwara in Smethwick, was sprayed with the words ‘Sepoys no more’. 

Express & Star

The phrase ‘Lions of the great war’, which adorned the statue, has also been sprayed with a black line and the words “1 jarnoil” written next to it.

‘1 jarnoil’, according to reports, refers to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who forfeited the shrine of Golden Temple. He was known to be an advocate demanding a separate nation for the Sikhs. He was shot down by the Indian government in 1984 in Operation Blue Star.

Yahoo News

According to India Times, the police is working to dig out the perpetrators at the moment, looking through CCTV footage and working with worshippers and the management of the gurudwara.

In an interview with India Times, Sgt Bill Gill from the Smethwick neighbourhood policing team said,

We understand that this attack has caused a lot of concern in the community, and we are working to understand the reasons behind it and identify whoever is responsible.

The event is saddening considering that the statue sought to honour personnel from all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Great Britain during the First World War.