Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Hours after two Sikh men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan's Peshawar on Sunday, 15 May, New Delhi said it registered its "strong protest" with Islamabad over the matter, stating that the incident wasn't a "rare occurrence" in the country.
Suljeet Singh (42) and Ranjeet Singh (38), were shopkeepers who sold spices at Tal Bazaar in the Sarband area.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter to condemn the incident.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India said that it has "seen the reports on the brutal killing of two Sikh traders by unidentified armed men in Peshawar. Sadly, this is not the first such case or a rare occurrence."
Terming the killing of the Sikh men deplorable, New Delhi said it registered a "strong protest with the Government of Pakistan on continued targeting of members of the minority community in Pakistan."
New Delhi also said that it had called upon the authorities in Pakistan, expecting them to investigate the matter "sincerely" and take "strict action" against those responsible.
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif Condemns Incident
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif said he has ordered a "high level inquiry to ascertain facts."
"Strongly condemn the killing of our Sikh citizens in Peshawar, KP. Pakistan belongs to all its people. Have ordered a high level inquiry to ascertain facts. The killers will be arrested & meted out exemplary punishment. My most sincere sympathies to the bereaved families (sic)," he tweeted.
More About the Incident
The victims, identified as Suljeet Singh and Ranjeet Singh, were shopkeepers who sold spices at Tal Bazaar located in the Batatal locality, Dawn reported.
The incident occurred within the Sarband area, which falls under the tense Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
Though the police rushed to the area to nab the perpetrators, no arrests have been made so far.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan strongly condemned the attack and ordered the police to take immediate action against those involved.
Pakistani Sikhs, Muslims Stage Protests in Peshawar, Block Grand Trunk Road
Meanwhile, Pakistani Sikhs, who were joined by the country's Muslim population, staged a protest against the killings in Peshawar and blocked the Grand Trunk road on Sunday. They also demanded compensation for the deceased and protection for the minority community.
Later on Sunday evening, members of the Sikh community held a candlelight vigil on the premises of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, demanding justice for the two men.
SGPC, Pakistan SGPC Condemn Incident
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) and the Pakistan Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (PSGPC) strongly condemned the incident.
"We strongly condemn cowardly murders of two Sikhs Kuljit Singh & Ranjit Singh in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Governments of Pakistan & India should ensure on priority, security & safety of life & property of minority Sikhs living in Pakistan. Pakistan government should fulfil its responsibility diligently as such murders of minorities is matter of great concern for entire world especially the Sikhs," SGPC President S Harjinder Singh said.
Meanwhile, PSGPC, too, condemned the incident, stating, "The Sikh community in Pakistan strongly condemn the brutal assassination of our Sikh brothers in Peshawar incident. We demand immediate justice and arrest of culprits from Government of Pakistan & Government of KPK."
Growing Attacks on Sikhs in Peshawar
Peshawar is home to about 15,000 Sikhs, most of whom reside in the Jogan Shah neighbourhood.
In September 2021, a Sikh Unani medicine practitioner was gunned down by unidentified gunmen inside his clinic in Peshawar.
In 2020, Ravinder Singh, a news channel anchor was killed.
In 2018, Charanjit Singh, an eminent face in Peshawar's Sikh community was gunned down by unidentified men.
(With inputs from PTI.)