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Legal Sikh Killing Issue To Be Raised In Foreign Secy-level Talks With Pak

Jan 1, 2010
UNI - United News of India

Sikh Killing issue to be raised in Foreign Secy-level talks with Pak

New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI)

India today condemned the beheading of a Sikh businessman by Taliban in Pakistan's Khyber region and said the issue will be raised at the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan on February 25.

Condemning the act as ''most barbaric and uncivilised'', External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said Pakistan must ensure the safety of minorities.

''We are in touch with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and are looking into the matter. We will bring up the issue with Pakistan,'' Mr Krishna told reporters outside the Parliament House.

He said all issues concerning bilateral relations would be takenup during the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks.Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao would meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here on February 25. While India says the focus would be on terrorism, Pakistan wants to raise other issues as well.

Protesting the brutal killings, Punjab BJP unit led by itspresident Ashwani Sharma converged at the Wagah check post and burntan effigy of the Taliban. They raised slogans against Pakistan and accused Islamabad of supporting terrorist elements.Mr Sharma, in a statement, demanded that the Indo-Pakistan secretary level talks be called off so as to send a strong message to the government across the border.

Describing the incident as an ''outrage against humanity'',Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded that the Union Government put the issue on ''priority agenda'' during the talks with Pakistan.

Taliban terrorists had beheaded the Sikh who, along with two others, had been abducted more than a month ago in the tribal belt near Peshawar.

They demanded a ransom of Rs three crore for their release and killed one of them after the ransom deadline expired last week.The fate of the other two was not immediately known.There was confusion on the number of Sikhs killed and held hostage. Initial reports said two Sikhs had been killed out of the six abducted. However, reports from Islamabad quoting officials said only one had been killed, while two others were still in captivity.

In a statement issued in Chandigarh, Mr Badal asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene directly to secure the release of the remaining members of the Sikh community held hostage by the Taliban.

He also impressed upon Dr Singh to make use of all diplomatic channels to ensure the safety and security of the Sikh community across the border.

Rajneesh Madhok
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