Islamists Blow Head Off Ancient Buddhist Statue in Swat
In September, a group of armed men arrived in the village of Jehanabad saying they were mujahedeen, or Islamic fighters, and told residents they wanted to blow up the 7-meter (23-foot) statue.
They were not successful.
This weekend they blew its head off.
Swat is celebrated throughout the world as the holy land of Buddhist learning and piety. Swat is a place of Buddhist pilgrimage. There were more than 400 Buddhist sites covering and area of 160 Km in Swat valley- Not any more.
Peshawar, Nov 6 : The historic statue of Buddha in the Jihan Abad area of Swat district in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has been blown up by unidentified militants.
The destruction of the historic monument took place on Saturday night, Muhammad Aqleem, Deputy Curator of Swat Museum, said.
“This is second attack on the seventh century statue of Buddha. The fresh attack caused irreparable loss to its head and also damaged its shoulders,” he added.
Aqleem maintained that the statue belonged to seventh century A.D, and it was the most complete and inspiring symbol of Gandahara Art.
After the historic statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, which were destroyed by the Taliban, the Swat statue was the sole example of Buddhist cultural heritage.
“It was seven meters tall and 20 feet high from the land, showing Buddha in meditation. I don’t know what they want to achieve by such actions,” The News quoted Aqleem, as saying.
Aqleem said he had reported the incident to the local police but he did not think that the police would be able to protect Buddhist cultural sites in Swat, as they themselves were the victims of terrorist attacks. (ANI)