Pak Sikhs want to return to India: Kin of Taliban victim

Pakistani Sikh community has appealed to India to provide visas to them so that they could migrate to the country to escape the Taliban.

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2010, 17:42 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Pakistani Sikh community has appealed to India to provide visas to them so that they could migrate to the country to escape the Taliban. A day after a Sikh was beheaded in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan, the cousin of the victim has said it was getting more dangerous for Sikhs to live in the country.

“We want to return to India but we are not getting the visas. The Taliban keep demanding jiziya (religious tax) from us,” Arvind Singh, the cousin of Jaspal Singh beheaded by the Taliban on Sunday, told a TV channel.

He said the business of the minority community were suffering in Pakistan because of the Taliban.

India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Monday said that India strongly condemns the barbaric killing of a Sikh in Pakistan and added that the matter will be taken up at the Indo-Pak foreign secretary level talks to be held later this week.

“Government of India condemns this barbaric act. Pakistan must ensure the safety of minorities. We are in touch with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and are looking into the matter,” Krishna told reporters outside Parliament.

While assuring that the government will take up the matter with the Pakistani government, Krishna made it clear that all issues concerning the relations between the two countries will be discussed during the talks scheduled to be held in New Delhi on February 25.

Contrary to media reports which claimed that two Sikhs were beheaded, Krishna said that only one Sikh has been killed by the Taliban while two others are still in their custody.

The victim was kidnapped along with two other Sikhs by Taliban militants from Tirah valley in Khyber Agency near the provincial capital Peshawar.

A letter was found with the body warning the relatives of the deceased and other Sikh locals against disclosing the case to the media. His two other companions, Gorwandar Singh and Surjeet Singh, are still being held captive by the militants.

As per media reports, the Taliban beheaded two Sikhs and threw their heads into a Peshawar gurudwara and that two more Sikhs were still in their custody. The Sikhs were kidnapped 34 days ago and Rs 3 crore was demanded as ransom for their release. The beheadings happened after the expiry of the deadline for the payment of the ransom amid reports that the captured Sikhs were asked to convert to Islam to escape from their deadly fate and were beheaded when they refused to do so.

The body of Jaspal Singh was found in the Khyber tribal region, located a short distance from the provincial capital of Peshawar, while the body of Mahal Singh was found in the Aurakzai Agency, sources said Sunday night.

-PTI inputs