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4 men arrested in Pakistan for smashing up newly unearthed 1,700-year-old Buddha statue because it was ‘un-Islamic’

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19 July 2020

A Buddha statue, which was discovered while digging the foundation for a house in Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Mardan district, was smashed into pieces by local construction workers on Saturday because they considered the relic to be unIslamic, drawing the ire of the authorities concerned.

The statue was discovered in Mardan’s Takht Bhai area, which was a part of the Gandhara civilisation, while the workers were digging to lay the foundation for the under-construction house.

A video, which has since gone viral on social media, showed the construction workers smashing the Buddha statue using a sledgehammer and expressing their resentment against the unIslamic relic.

Local media quoted an official of the Pakistan tourism department, who said that the authorities have taken note of the incident and are looking into the matter.

Abdul Samad, director, 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. “We have located the area and we will have those involved arrested soon,” he said.

Takht Bhai is known for its relics since it was a part of the Gandhara civilisation.

Excavated in 1836 for the first time, archaeologists have dug out hundreds of relics made of clay, stucco, and terracotta in the area.

All four offenders who were found vandalizing the relic in the video have been arrested.

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