AMRITSAR: Afraid of targeted killings, Sikh families from Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan are fleeing to safety days after killing of a local Sikh religious leader Charanjit Singh.
A prominent Sikh of Peshawar Radesh Singh Tony told TOI over phone from Peshawar on Thursday that as many as 40 to 45 Sikh families had migrated to Sikh majority areas of Hassanabdal, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Lahore in two weeks time.
“No doubt, we, the Sikhs, are constantly living under fear and the recent killing of Charanjit Singh has only triggered the fresh wave of migration of Sikhs to safety,” said Radesh.
Charanjit Singh, a grocery shop owner, was killed on May 29 in Peshawar in his shop.
Media reports published on Tuesday stated that Sikhs in Peshawar are not only cutting their hair to conceal their identities but are also fleeing to other Sikh majority areas in Pakistan.
However, the incidents of cutting of hair by Sikhs in Peshawar was not confirmed by Radesh Singh Tony who is also president of Khalsa Peace and Justice Foundation of Pakistan.
He informed there were a total of around 1000 to 1400 Sikh families living in Peshawar and that many of them had migrated to Peshawar from restive frontier areas of Pakistan.
Another Sikh leader from Panja Sahib, Hasanabdal who did not wish to be named informed that more than fifty families which had migrated from Peshawar were staying in Gurdwara Panja Sahib.
“Their future appears to be bleak, they can’t return fearing being targeted by Taliban or fundamental Islamist groups who extort money and force them to embrace Islam and if they were refused they kill Sikhs and forcibly abduct their daughters,” he said.
While confirming the migration of Sikh families from Peshawar, president of Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society Harpal Singh Bhullar said Sikhs in Peshawar were scared after targeted attacks on them. Society's Sikh jatha is currently in Pakistan to observe the martyrdom anniversary of Sikh's fifth master Guru Ajan Dev.
Meanwhile, Gopal Singh Chawla, the general secretary of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) has uploaded his video message denying migration of Sikhs from Peshawar. He claimed that there were certain ‘forces’ who didn’t want to see Sikhs living with prosperity in Pakistan and were spreading canards.
Intelligence sources here informed that they were keeping an eye on occurence of events in Peshawar and migration of Sikhs from Peshawar.