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Canadian Sikhs outraged over Taliban atrocities in Pak

February 25, 2010 10:37 IST

The Taliban militants, who kidnapped Robin Singh, a Sikh in Peshawar, have demanded a ransom of Canadian $1,25,000 from his family in suburban Brampton in Ontario.

The Pakistani Taliban are suspected to be behind the kidnapping, but according to Robin's father Bishan Dass, "I can't say whether they are Taliban. But they are terrorists.'

This issue and the tragic beheading of two other Sikhs -- Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh on February 20 -- has become a subject of intense debate in Canada. Two other Sikhs, Gurjit Singh and Gurvinder Singh, are still in the custody of the Taliban.

Strongly condemning the Taliban's inhuman act, Liberal Member of Parliament Gurbax Malhi said, "The ongoing human right violations that are affecting the minorities -- most recently the Sikh community -- in north-western Pakistan require the immediate attention of the Canadian government."

Innocent lives are senselessly taken as minorities are not provided with the protection they need against the atrocities of the Taliban.  The government of Canada must take up this issue with the Pakistan government so that appropriate protection is provided to minority groups and also ensure that the refugee applications from Pakistan's affected minorities are speeded up," he said.

Malhi, who met Dass, has voiced his opinion against giving in to the Taliban's ransom demand. 

According to informed sources, some Sikh organisations met in Toronto on February 20 and considered raising funds for the ransom amount.

In a letter written to Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Malhi stated, "Innocent lives are senselessly taken as minorities are not provided with the protection they need against the atrocities of Taliban." 

The South Asian For Human Rights Association has appealed for the release of the three Sikhs held captive by the Taliban.
SAHRA president Roger Nair has urged the Canadian government and the international community to pressurize the Pakistan government to protect its minorities.

"We should also not forget the fact that three Sikhs are still in Taliban captivity and getting them released should be on top of everyone's list as well as the safety of the rest of the targeted minority groups," Nair said in an interview.

Ajit Jain In Toronto