India has filed a “strong protest” with the government of Pakistan over the recent killing of two people belonging to the Sikh community in Peshawar on Sunday. “Unfortunately, this is not the first case or a rare occurrence,” the State Department said in a strongly worded statement, further calling it a “shocking and regrettable incident”.
Responding to questions from the media about what the foreign ministry called the “target killing” of two Sikh traders, the government spokesman said: “We have seen the reports of the brutal killing of two Sikh traders by unidentified gunmen in Peshawar. Unfortunately, this is not the first case or a rare occurrence.”
The two murdered men were shopkeepers selling spices at the Bata Tal bazaar in Sarband, police said.
The victims, identified as Saljeet Singh (42) and Ranjeet Singh (38), died on the spot.
Police rushed to the scene and surrounded the area to arrest the perpetrators. No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
About 15,000 Sikhs live in Peshawar, mostly in the Jogan Shah district of the provincial capital.
Most members of the Sikh community in Peshawar are involved in business, while some also run pharmacies.
“We have made a strong protest to the Pakistani government against the continued attacks against members of the minority community in Pakistan. We call on the authorities concerned to investigate the matter sincerely and take strict action against those responsible for this regrettable incident” the ministry said. said a spokesperson.
The chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan, had strongly condemned the attack and ordered the police to take immediate steps to arrest the perpetrators.
He called the incident a conspiracy against disrupting interfaith harmony and said justice will be given to the families of the dead. In September last year, a well-known Sikh ‘hakeem’ (unani drug) was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his clinic in Peshawar.
The Indian government has said it expects the government of Pakistan to take responsibility for ensuring the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities.