'India will take up beheading issue with Pak'

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New Delhi, Feb 22: Calling the beheading of two Sikhs by the Taliban in Pakistan as the 'most barbaric' act, India on Monday, Feb 22 has asked Pakistan to ensure the security of the minorities in the country.

"Pakistan must ensure the safety of minorities," said Krishna while commenting on the murders of the Sikhs in Khyber and Orakzi areas near Peshawar of Pakistan.

Shocked at heinous act, Krishna said that the issue will be taken up in the India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talk, scheduled on Feb 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 told reporters outside Parliament.

Local report said that the two sikhs, Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh, both businessmen were kidnapped for ransom by the armed Tehrik-e-Talibanat militants in separate incidents from Tira Valley in Khyber agency and Darra Adamkheil in Orakzai agency on Jan 19.

They were reportedly killed by the militants for refusing to convert to Islam.

In a letter accompanying the bodies of the deceased, Taliban warned their families against reporting the killing to the media

Two other Sikh companion of the deceased, Gorwandar Singh and Surjeet Singh are still in the custody of the militants.

The issue has sparked up protest from plotical parties across the country.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a Sikh organisation that manages gurdwaras, the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have reportedly asked the government to seek formal reply from Pakistan

Meanwhile, members of the BJP have reportedly staged protest outside the Pakistan High Commission office.

"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," said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

The incident has also led to the Punjab government, seeking Center's intervention in ensuring the safety of Sikhs 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 said in Chandigarh.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari has said that India will take up the issue with Pakistan, adding that the government have always also sought the protection of the minorities in the region.

"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 told reporters in Delhi.

Meanwhile, Pakistan minority minister, Shahbaz Bhatti in a media report has assured India that the government has already started probe into incident, adding that Pakistan will ensure the safety of the minority in its country.

OneIndia News

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