A sculpture, which was unveiled last Sunday in honour of Indian soldiers who fought during the World War I in the town of Smethwick in the West Midlands region of England, has been vandalised. Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, which had commissioned the monument, condemned the act, calling it “despicable” and “cowardly”. A black line was drawn across the plaque at the site, which had read ‘Lions of the Great War’. The phrase ‘Sepoys no more’ was written in its place.
Jatinder Singh, president of the Gurdwara, said, “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. Working with the council we won’t allow this vandalism to undermine the very strong message created by this new monument and the overwhelmingly positive reaction to its unveiling.”
Singh further said, “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.”
He also said that the Gurdwara would advise anyone who witnesses vandalism or other anti-social behaviour taking place to report any incidents to the police as soon as possible using 101. We are reviewing the CCTV and will be taking the necessary action.
The 10-foot Lions of the Great War statue sits on a 6-foot granite plinth and is permanently based between High Street and Tollhouse Way.