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Taliban beheads two Sikhs in Pakistan

Last updated on: February 22, 2010 08:41 IST

Two Sikhs who were kidnapped for ransom were found beheaded by the Pakistani Taliban in Pakistan's restive tribal belt in yet another brutal act by the militants.

Some more members of the minority community are still in the custody of the rebels. The body of Jaspal Singh was found in the Khyber tribal region, located a short distance from the provincial capital of Peshawar, while the body of Mahal Singh was found in the Aurakzai Agency, sources told PTI on Satrurday night.

There was some confusion about the total number of Sikhs who were kidnapped for ransom from the Bara area of Khyber Agency by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

A source said four Sikhs were abducted while another report said the total number of kidnapped persons was six. The Sikhs were kidnapped 34 days ago and the Taliban had demanded Rs 30 million as ransom for their release.

Two of the kidnapped Sikhs were beheaded after the expiry of the deadline for the payment of the ransom, sources said.

According to a North West Frontier Province minister Bashir Ahmed, three Sikhs having business in Federally Administered Tribal Areas were kidnapped by Taliban and one of them was 'slaughtered' by them.

"They (Taliban) sent his body to Peshawar," he said. Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh are still in the custody of the militants, sources said.

The kidnapping occurred in an area where there the government has virtually no control and the militants are in a dominant position, sources said. An estimated 10,000 Sikhs lived in the NWFP and in the tribal belt, particularly Aurakzai Agency, till the Taliban imposed jiziya or religious tax on them last year.

Most members of the community then fled to cities across Pakistan. Brig Mehmood Shah, a former security secretary of FATA, described the Taliban act as horrendous and said it must be condemned in the strongest terms.

A letter, found with Jaspal's body, warned his relatives and other Sikh locals against disclosing the case to the media, the Dawn News reported. It said the minority faced threats of suicide attacks if the details of the beheading and kidnapping were revealed to the media or security forces.

A Muhammad and Rezaul H Laskar in Peshawar / Islamabad
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