TikToker held for throwing stones at Buddha statue in Swat – 14 Nov 2022

SWAT: The Swat police have arrested a TikToker after his video went viral on social media showing him throwing stones at the 7th century Jahanabad Buddha at Shakhorai Jahanabad in Manglawar area.

A guard of the site was also detained for absence from duty after the cultural activists and local people criticised the TikToker and demanded their arrest.

On Saturday, a TikToker posted a video on his Facebook page showing him stoning the Buddha, which sparked anger among cultural activists and civil society members in Swat and demanded his arrest.

The activists also demanded the arrest of the guard and said he did not perform his duty.

Later, the Swat police arrested the accused TikToker. He was identified as Abubakar, a resident of Sangota village.

“The accused and the guard of the site have been arrested, and FIR lodged against them. The accused TikToker has been sent to jail after presenting him in the court,” said Sangota police station SHO Hayat Khan. He said the guard had been released.

The iconic Buddha, seated in a meditative posture and considered as one of the biggest rock sculptures in South Asia, was also attacked in Sept 2007 by Taliban, who had blown up half the statue’s face.

The defacement of the Buddha had sparked worldwide anger and concern among the Buddhist community, historians and archaeologists. However, the Italian archeological mission in Pakistan restored its face through a scientific restoration process conducted by renowned archaeologists and experts.

Since then, the rock-carved Buddha has been the centre of attraction for tourists, historians and heritage lovers from across the world.

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