A statue of 19th century Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore was vandalised on Tuesday, The Express Tribune reported.

This was the third time that the statue, located near the Lahore Fort, has been vandalised since 2019.

The police have arrested an activist of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party in connection with the vandalism. The Imran Khan government had banned the party in April.

Authorities of the Walled City of Lahore has announced that a bigger statue of the Sikh ruler will be installed at the spot, Dawn reported.

Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that citizens who engage in such acts are dangerous for Pakistan’s reputation.

India’s Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that the act was an attempt to “erase the shared history of the subcontinent”. He added that the vandalism showed how “extremist ideologies feel emboldened in our volatile neighbourhood”.

The statue of the Sikh ruler was unveiled in June 2019. It was first vandalised two months later by two men protesting against the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, according to PTI.

It was again vandalised in December 2020 and an arm of the statue was broken then, Dawn reported.

Earlier this month, a mob had vandalised a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan district as a reaction to the alleged desecration of a Muslim seminary.

The vandalism in August occurred after a local court granted bail to a nine-year-old Hindu boy who allegedly urinated at a library of the seminary. The boy was booked under Pakistan’s blasphemy law.