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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2785

Talibans attempted to desecrate the Gandhra Buddha statute

By Walter Jayawardhana

Islamabad, 13 September, (Asiantribune.com): Afghan Talibans, attempted to destroy a beautiful first century Buddha statue carved into a rock in the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan, located on the border of Afghanistan, but failed in their attempt and ended up destroying a nearby rock, Pakistani sources said. Jehanabad Buddha statuteJehanabad Buddha statute

The dynamiting to demolish the huge Gandhara era statue occurred in the small village of Jehanabad in North West Frontier Province, a stronghold of pro-Taliban militants that lies on the border with Afghanistan, officials said.

Pakistani newspapers said quoting a villager named Amir Khan that a group of armed men arrived in the village late on Monday (September 10) saying they were Mujahedeen, or Islamic fighters, and told residents they wanted to blow up the 23-foot-tall statue.

The attempt is reminiscent of the destruction of ancient Bamiyan Buddha statutes dynamited by the Islamic militants at the condemnation of the whole world.

Newspapers quoted Amir Khan as saying, “A group of armed men arrived in the village late on Monday saying they were Mujahedeen, or Islamic fighters, and told residents they wanted to blow up the 23-foot-tall statue."We heard the sound of drilling twice and then early Tuesday morning, we heard two blasts."

But later archeological officials who examined the statute said luckily the attempts of the Islamic fanatics were futile and only rock surrounding it was blasted by the Mujahideen dynamite.

Abdul Nasir, assistant curator of the museum in nearby Swat town speaking to a news agency said "Luckily, the actual statue of the Buddha is safe . Islam teaches us to respect other religions and faiths, but unfortunately some elements are disturbing the peace in the Swat valley."

Fida Ullah Sehrai, an expert on Buddhist archaeology and former director of the Peshawar Museum said that the 7 meter or 23 foot cross legged Buddha statute was built around the 1st century, during the Gandhara era, which flourished in that part of Pakistan from the 6th century B.C. to the 11th century A.D.

Taliban fanatics in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan dynamited two giant Buddha statues, in March 2001 deeming them idolatrous and anti-Muslim. It was one of the regime's most widely condemned acts and the whole Buddhist world including Sri Lanka using the good offices of Pakistan tried to save them but in vain.

- Asian Tribune -

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