BJP expresses concern over targeting of Sikhs in Pakistan


New Delhi : Expressing “deep concern” over reports of Taliban targeting Sikhs in Pakistan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday demanded that the Indian government take proactive steps to save the lives of people of Indian origin.

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The BJP demanded that the government should take proactive steps to save people of Indian origin living in Pakistan, a party statement said.

“The government utterly failed to protect the people of Indian origin in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere. Efforts by the government so far have remained technical only and have not yielded any tangible results,” the statement added.

Quoting sources, Pakistani channel Geo TV had said that Taliban militants had taken over the shops and homes of the 35 Sikh families and arrested community leaders Kalank Singh and Sewa Singh in the Ferozkhel area of Lower Orakzai Agency.

Following this, a local jirga ruled that the Sikh community should annually pay Rs.15 million ($187,000) as jaziya or protection money. Earlier reports had said the Taliban had demanded Rs.50 million but that this had been reduced.

When the Sikh community expressed their inability to pay, the Taliban then auctioned their houses and other belongings, forcing them to migrate from the area. There were reports the militants had demolished the 11 houses of the Sikh community after they failed to pay the jaziya tax.