India on Monday strongly condemned the “barbaric” beheading of a Sikh man by suspected Taliban militants in Pakistan.

“We condemn the barbaric act of Taliban,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here following reports of the beheading of Jaspal Singh in Pakistan’s Peshawar city.

Jaspal Singh and his two companions were abducted by Taliban militants recently. His beheaded body was found in Pakistan’s restive tribal region on Sunday. His two companions, Gorwandar Singh and Surjeet Singh, are still being held captive by the militants.

The killing has been widely condemned in India with New Delhi asked to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to ensure the safety of minorities in that country.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) — a Sikh organisation that manages gurdwaras, the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have condemned the killing of Jaspal Singh by suspected Taliban militants in Pakistan.

“This is a condemnable act. The central government should take up the matter with the Pakistan government to ensure the safety of Sikhs in that area,” SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said.

The government in Punjab has sought the central government’s intervention to ensure the safety of Sikhs in the restive tribal region in Pakistan.

“The government should not sleep in this matter. Life of Sikhs should be protected,” Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said in Chandigarh.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that India needs to talk to Pakistan over the incident.

“It is a serious issue and there is a need to talk to Pakistan. It also sends a message to world powers who are trying to differentiate between good and bad Taliban,” Mr. Tewari told reporters in Delhi.

He said the government had been regularly taking up the issue of providing security to minorities, especially Sikhs, in Pakistan.

The BJP has asked the government to mount “diplomatic pressure” on Pakistan to ensure release of the abducted Sikh residents in that country.

Minorities are facing threats in Pakistan and terrorism presents the real picture of that country, said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

A large number of Pakistani Sikhs have fled from Orakzai and Tirah valley where the non-Muslims have been charged “jazia” or tax by militants on the pretext of providing security to them in the area.

Keywords: IndiaPakistanTaliban

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