Ontario Sikh family worried about son allegedly kidnapped by Taliban in Peshawar

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Ontario, Mar.4 (ANI): One of the four Sikh youths, who were kidnapped from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) last month, Robin Singh, is still traceless, and his parents living here are worried about the safety of their son.

Bishan Dass and his wife Shama, who had settled in the suburban town of Brampton some eight years ago, have not received any news of their son Robin since February 12, the day he was said to have been abducted by suspected Taliban insurgents from a market in Peshawar in broad day light.We can't even sleep at night. We're not hearing anything about him," The Globe and Mail quoted a worried Dass, as saying.

Dass' fear has increased manifold after the Taliban beheaded one of the kidnapped Sikh youths last month.

Though the Taliban's connection has not been officially established in Robin's case, a ransom of 10 million rupees was demanded a few days after his kidnapping.

The ransom call was made to his brother Rajan, who is also based in Peshawar, the newspaper said.

"Your brother Robin Singh is with us," the caller told Rajan.

While Robin's family members and close friends in Ontario still awaits any news about him, Canadian officials with the World Sikh Organization advised strongly against paying the ransom for fear it would encourage further kidnappings.

"That will send the wrong message," the newspaper quoted Amanpreet Bal, a spokesman for the organization, as saying.

This is not the first time that minorities, especially the Sikhs are facing difficult situation in Pakistan's troubled region.

Despite their minority status, thousands of Sikhs have lived for decades in the region speaking the local Pashto language and running small businesses.

After a surge in Islamic extremism in 2001, they were targeted by the Taliban and other extremist groups flourishing in the region.

Taliban factions began to demand 'jazia', a form of ancient protection tax for non-Muslims, forcing many Sikh families to flee the region. In some cases militants also destroyed several houses belonging to the minority community. (ANI)

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