The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Sunday condemned the killing of a Sikh youth in Pakistan’s Peshawar and expressed grave concern over the rising incidents of religious persecution of Sikhs and other minorities in the neighbouring country, Hindustan Times reports.
A 25-year-old Sikh man, identified as Ravinder Singh, has allegedly been murdered in Peshawar, Pakistan. However, the alleged killer has not been identified yet. The victim’s body was found in the Chamkani Police Station area in Peshawar.
Ravinder Singh was the brother of a journalist, Harmeet Singh, Pakistan’s first Sikh journalist in electronic media. Originally from Shangla in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Ravinder Singh lived in Malaysia. He had travelled to Pakistan for his wedding and was in Peshawar for the shopping.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, the SAD chief urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to ensure the safety of Sikh brethren in the neighbouring country.
Badal said it was condemnable that after an attack on Nankana Sahib gurdwara, a Sikh youth was murdered in Peshawar.
“This shows the extent of religious persecution Sikhs and other minorities are facing in Pakistan. Rising attacks on religious places as well Sikhs and other minorities in Pakistan are the direct outcome of the anti-minority policies of its government,” he said.
Badal said it was because of such policies that “Islamic fundamentalists had become a law unto themselves and were persecuting minorities and indulging in forced conversions”.
The SAD president said that the murder of Islamabad journalist Harmeet Singh’s younger brother Parvinder Singh in Peshawar by unidentified assailants proved that “innocent people were being targeted indiscriminately to instil a sense of fear among minorities”.
“The victim had come from Malaysia for his wedding and became a target of hate crime currently on the rise in Pakistan,” he said, while adding that the “Pakistani government seemed to be in league with the hardliners in targeting minorities there”.
A day earlier, several leaders in India had condemned the mob attack on the historic Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Lahore, terming it as “cowardly” and “shameful”, while hundreds of protesters thronged the streets near the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi demanding that the neighbouring country provide adequate security to Sikh shrines and community members there.
In the national capital, police barricaded the roads to prevent protesters — belonging to the BJP, Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and other organisations — from reaching the Pakistan High Commission.
The protesters carried banners and placards reading “Shame on Pakistan” and “Double standard of Imran Khan, Sikhs are being tortured in Pakistan”. Some urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to protect the gurdwara.
Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had condemned the vandalism at the shrine, saying it goes against his “vision” and the government will show “zero tolerance” against those involved in it. Breaking his silence on the incident, Khan said that there is a “major difference between the condemnable Nankana incident and the ongoing attacks across India on Muslims and other minorities”.
Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is a site near Lahore where the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born. According to media reports, a violent mob had attacked the Gurdwara and pelted it with stones on Friday. A team of police had to intervene briskly to control the situation.