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Peshawar Sikhs worried, insecure over kidnappings

Insecurity has increased in the minority Sikh community of Peshawar city in northwest Pakistan.

Islamabad: Insecurity has increased in the minority Sikh community of Peshawar city in northwest Pakistan after the kidnapping of a Sikh man and the killing of another, a media report said on Monday.

Mohinder Singh, a seller of herbal medicines, was kidnapped in Khyber tribal region last November. His mutilated body was found in a deserted location in the tribal belt last month.

Last week, kidnappers took away Raghbir Singh, a 40-year- old cloth dealer, from near his house at Quaidabad on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Local residents said Singh, a father of four, was on way back home from a gurdwara when the armed abductors overpowered him, bundled him into their car and took him to an unknown location.

"The Sikh community is disturbed over the two incidents. They have approached some senior government officials to seek their help in recovery of Raghbir Singh but things are yet to work in their favour," former Deputy Attorney General Khurshid Khan told The News.

Khan, who has close links with the Sikhs and often performs `seva` at gurdwaras, visited a Sikh shrine in Peshawar and expressed his sympathies with around 200 elders of the community over the killing of Mohinder Singh and the kidnapping of Raghbir Singh.

Sikhs are a peaceful community and were never involved in any kind of crime but they were suffering for the past few years due to kidnappings, said Khan.

Around 3,000 Sikhs have settled in Peshawar, mostly in Dabgari area, while hundreds more live in other districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and Khyber and Orakzai tribal regions.

Members of the Sikh community said they have lodged a First Information Report about the kidnapping of Raghbir Singh at Bhanamari police station but no progress had been reported so far in tracing him.

Sikh elders met Haroon Bilour, advisor to the Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, to seek his help for the safe recovery of the kidnapped man.

Bilour assured the elders that he would take up the matter with relevant government agencies.

Some years ago, 33-year-old Sikh IT professional Robin Singh was kidnapped from Peshawar.

He later returned home safe and sound.

Before that, three other Sikhs were kidnapped from Khyber Agency in January 2010.

One of them, Jaspal Singh, was later killed while the two others were rescued during a military operation.