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‘India need to talk over Sikhs beheading’
NEW DELHI/AMRITSAR, Feb 22 (IANS):
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Published on 23 Feb. 2010 12:15 AM IST
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India needs to talk to Pakistan over the beheading of a Sikh near Pakistan\’s Peshawar city, the ruling Congress said Monday. “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,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here. Reacting to reports of the beheading of a Sikh, Jaspal Singh, by Taliban elements after his recent abduction from Tirah Valley in Khyber agency near Peshawar, Tewari said the government had been regularly taking up the issue of providing security to minorities, especially Sikhs, in Pakistan. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has also asked the government to mount “diplomatic pressure” on Pakistan to ensure release of the abducted Sikh residents in the country. Besides, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Punjab government have also said that New Delhi must take up the issue with Pakistan to ensure the safety of Sikhs in the restive tribal area. Jaspal Singh was kidnapped along with two other Sikh residents by Taliban militants from Tirah valley in Khyber Agency near the provincial capital Peshawar, DawnNews reported. His two other companions, Gorwandar Singh and Srujeet Singh, are still being held captive by the militants, the report said. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder. Meanwhile, India Monday strongly condemned the “barbaric” beheading of a Sikh man by suspected Taliban militants in Pakistan. “We condemn the barbaric act of Taliban,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here following reports of the beheading of Jaspal Singh in Pakistan’s Peshawar city. Jaspal Singh and his two companions were abducted by Taliban militants recently. His beheaded body was found in Pakistan’s restive tribal region Sunday. His two companions, Gorwandar Singh and Surjeet Singh, are still being held captive by the militants. The killing has been widely condemned in India with New Delhi asked to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to ensure the safety of minorities in that country. The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are set to meet in New Delhi Feb 25 and the issue of terrorism is expected to be the focus of the renewed talks process between the two neighbours. SGPC condemns beheading of Sikhs in Pakistan Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today strongly condemned the beheading of Sikhs in Pakistan and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with his counterpart in Pakistan. SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar told PTI, “The SGPC and entire Sikh community strongly condemns the brutal murder of Sikhs at Peshawar in Pakistan by Taliban.” He asked the Prime Minister to take up the matter with Pakistan government and ask it to provide adequate security to the minority Sikh community as they were not safe in Pakistan. He also demanded that the Prime Minister make immediate arrangements for an SGPC delegation to visit Pakistan to take stock of the situation. Makkar said the SGPC firmly stood with the Sikhs living in Peshawar and all over Pakistan and was always ready to extend all possible help to them.

 
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