MPs’ team meets PM over Sikh’s beheading by Taliban

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) A delegation of members of parliament met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday in the wake of the beheading of a Sikh man by the Taliban in Pakistan’s troubled tribal area and in a memorandum sought India’s intervention to protect the community.

The body of Jaspal Singh was found in Tirah Valley of the Khyber Agency in Pakistan’s restive tribal region Sunday, triggering panic in the small community that has suffered the ire of the Taliban for some time.

Jaspal was kidnapped along with two other Sikhs from Tirah Valley in the Khyber Agency near the provincial capital Peshawar and the Taliban demanded Rs.3 crore as ransom for their release, Pakistani media reported.

The two companions of Jaspal Singh, identified as Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh, are reportedly still being held captive.

‘The government of India should take up the issue with the government of Pakistan to provide safe passage to the Sikh community to move out of those unsafe areas,’ Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member S.S. Ahluwalia told reporters here, after the 15-minute meeting with the PM.

He said the parliament members also demanded that Pakistan high commissioner to India should be called by the government to lodge a protest over the killing of the Sikh and to seek release of those held in captivity by Pakistan. A memorandum was also given to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Besides Ahluwalia, the delegation included Shiromani Akali Dal MPs Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Rattan Singh Ajnala, Sher Singh Ghubaya and Naresh Gujral. The group also included Independent MP Tarlochan Singh and Bahujan Samaj Party Rajya Sabha MP Avatar Singh.

Later, BJP and Akali Dal leaders held a prayer meeting at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib here in memory of Jaspal Singh and for safe release of those in captivity of the militant organisation.

The prayer meeting was attended by senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Gopinath Munde, as well as Akali Dal’s Badal, Ajnala, Ghubaya and Gujral besides Tarlochan Singh.

‘We prayed for the Sikhs killed by Taliban and safety of those in their custody,’ Tarlochan Singh told IANS.

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