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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 12:25 GMT
Racist attack on statue of Sikh
The statue of the Maharajah is in Thetford
The statue of Duleep Singh stands in his adopted town of Thetford
Racists are believed to have vandalised a statue of a Sikh monarch, covering it with paint and Nazi swastika symbols.

The statue of Maharajah Duleep Singh riding a horse, which stands in his adopted town of Thetford, Norfolk, was attacked early on Friday morning.

Duleep Singh (1838-1893), the last native ruler of the Punjab in India, lived in the nearby Elvedon Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

The statue was erected by the Duleep Singh Centenary Trust in 1999.

Its director Harbinder Singh said he was "very saddened" by what he suspected was a racially motivated attack.

'Cowardly imbeciles'

He added: "But it in no way dents our affection and links with the local community of Thetford and East Anglia.

"This is the act of mindless and cowardly imbeciles. It is insulting the values of all of us."

Norfolk Police said they were treating the attack as of a "racial nature".

Thousands of Sikhs visit sites associated with him.

The Maharajah was the last native ruler of the Punjab.

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