India Seeks Justice from Pak over Beheading of Sikhs by Taliban

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has described beheading to two Sikhs by Pakistan Taliban as ‘most barbaric’, saying that the matter could be discussed during the two countries’ talks on February 25, said media reports.

“Pakistan must ensure the safety of minorities,”’ Krishna was quoted as saying while commenting on the murders of the Sikhs in Khyber and Orakzi areas near Peshawar of Pakistan.

The issue could now spring up for discussion during the Indo-Pak foreign secretary level talks slated for February 25.

“We are in touch with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and are looking into the matter. We will bring up the issue with Pakistan,” Krishna was quoted as saying while taking to reporters outside Parliament.

According to local reports, the two Sikhs were abducted by the Tehrik-e-Taliban for ransom and were then killed. Two more Sikhs are still in their captivity. He was kidnapped along with two other Sikhs from Tirah valley in Khyber Agency near the provincial capital Peshawar.

IANS reported that one of the beheaded Sikh was businessman and was identified as Jaspal Singh.

In swift reaction to the killing, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a Sikh organisation that manages gurdwaras, the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have flayed the incidence, said reports.

Media reports said that a letter was found with Jaspal’s body warning relatives of the deceased and other Sikh locals against revealing the case to the media.

“This is a condemnable act. The central government should take up the matter with the Pakistan government to ensure the safety of Sikhs in that area,” SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar was quoted as saying.

In the wake of brutal killing, Punjab government has sought intervention of the Central government to make sure that Sikhs are safe in the restive tribal region in Pakistan.

“The government should not sleep in this matter. Life of Sikhs should be protected,” Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was quoted as saying in Chandigarh.

In the meanwhile, congress spokesman Manish Tewari said that India needs to talk to Pakistan over the incident.

“It is a serious issue and there is a need to talk to Pakistan. It also sends a message to world powers who are trying to differentiate between good and bad Taliban,” Tewari was quoted as saying while talking to reporters in Delhi.
The BJP asked the government to mount ‘diplomatic pressure’ on Pakistan to ensure release of the abducted Sikh residents in that country, said reports.

Minorities are facing threats in Pakistan and terrorism presents the real picture of that country, said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

A large number of Pakistani Sikhs have fled from Orakzai and Tirah valley where the non-Muslims have been charged ‘jazia’ or tax by militants on the pretext of providing security to them in the area.

(Based on internet reports)

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