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Protest in KP’s Shangla after killing of Sikh youth

Residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla district staged on Monday a demonstration over the killing of a young Sikh man and demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators.

25-year-old Parvinder Singh, a resident of Shangla’s
Chakesar area, was shot dead by unknown men in Peshawar on Sunday.

His body was dispatched to his village Sunday evening, an
official of the Shangla Police told SAMAA Digital. Relatives performed the
deceased youth’s last rites Monday morning.

Later, residents of the area staged a demonstration in
Chakesar Bazar. They demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

From its announcement to finalisation of arrangements, the
demonstration was organised by Muslim residents of the area.

They first visited the bereaved relatives of the deceased at
their residence and later attended the demonstration despite snowfall in the
area, Haq Nawaz, a local schoolteacher, told SAMAA Digital.

Addressing the participants, local elders warned of staging
a protest outside the KP Assembly building in Peshawar if the authorities
failed to arrest Parvinder’s killers.

Parvinder’s brother Harmeet Singh, who is a journalist,
received his body from authorities in Peshawar on Sunday. He told reporters
that they didn’t have enmity with anyone.

Parvinder had a cloth business in Malaysia and come to Pakistan a few days ago for his wedding, according to his brother. He had gone to Peshawar to shop for his wedding that was scheduled in February.

Photo: Parvinder Singh

According to the Peshawar Police, Parvinder’s body was found on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

The deceased had been shot in the head, according to his
post-mortem report. The law enforcers said the man had apparently been killed
somewhere else and his body was dumped on the GT Road later.

It is pertinent to mention here that a sizeable Sikh
community inhabits Swat, Boner and Shangla districts of KP. These districts
were the worst hit by the Taliban militancy, but native Sikhs and Hindus had
not been targeted even in those times.

Fayyaz Ahmed, a young native of the Chakesar area, told
SAMAA Digital that a few Sikh families have been living in their area before
the partition of the Sub-continent.

“The harmony among Muslims and Sikhs in the area is
exemplary,” Ahmed said. “They share each other’s joys and sorrow, and
are strongly bonded.”

However, a Sikh social activist Charanjeet Singh was shot
dead in Peshawar last year. Along with other members of his community, Singh
used to organise Iftar meals for Muslims in Peshawar’s famous Qissa khawani
Bazar during the holy month of Ramazan.

The social activist had been busy with Iftar preparations at
the time he was shot dead.

In 2016, KP MPA Soran Singh was also murdered in his native
town of Buner. Police had booked a Hindu politician Baldev Kumar for Singh’s
murder, who was later acquitted for the lack of evidence.

Kumar is currently in India and has applied for political asylum there.

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