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Protests in J&K over beheading of Sikhs

Source: PTI
February 23, 2010 19:27 IST

Raising anti-Taliban slogans, Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir blocked roads for hours and burnt tyres during a bandh on Tuesday to protest the recent killing of two members of the community in Pakistan's restive tribal belt and demanded concrete steps for ensuring the safety of minorities in that country.

The call for the bandh given by Jammu and Kashmir Sikh United Front and supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, the Jammu Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, besides social organisations hit normal life in Jammu, Poonch, Reasi and R S Pura districts where shops and business establishments remained closed and vehicles went partially off the roads.

Sikh protestors, led by convenor of the JKSUF Sudershan Singh Wazir, blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway for over four hours in Gangyal and Jammu areas, burnt tyres at Digiana, Camp and other places along the highway and shouted anti-Taliban slogans besides demonstrating in the city.

However, there were no reports of any untowrad incidents during the bandh, a police spokesman said.

"We condemn the attack on Sikhs in Pakistan. The beheading incidents are brutal. Sikhs are unsafe in the area and the Pakistan government has failed to provide them security," Wazir told journalists in Jammu.

Meanwhile, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee in Srinagar appealed to governments of India and Pakistan to take concrete steps to ensure safety and security of minorities living in the neighbouring country.

"We are grieved and concerned over the killing of two Sikhs in Peshwar. We request governments of India and Pakistan to take concrete steps and ensure safety and security of minority community in Pakistan", convenor of the committee Jagmohan Singh Raina said.

Two Sikhs, kidnapped for ransom, were beheaded in Pakistan's restive North-West Frontier Province on Sunday.

Some more members of the minority community are still in the custody of the Taliban.

Raina said the brutal killing of Sikhs in Pakistan has endangered the honour, dignity and properties of the minority community in that country.

Two sikhs, who were kidnapped over a month ago, were beheaded by the Pakistani Taliban in the country's restive tribal belt. Some more members of the minority community are still in the custody of the rebels, he said.

Meanwhile, J and K Democratic freedom party headed by jailed leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, expressed grief over the brutal killings of the two Sikhs.

"Presence of Sikhs is a national honour for Pakistan and it is the duty of the government there to protect the lives and properties of the minority community," acting chairman of the party Maulana Mohammad Abdullah Tari said in a statement.

He said Kashmiri Muslims are grieved over the brutal incident and express solidarity with their Sikh brethren in the time of grief.
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