Two Sikhs rescued from Taliban's clutches, one injured

Two Sikhs rescued from Taliban's clutches, one injured

Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) hold placards during a protest against the killing of a Sikh in Pakistan, near the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi on February 23, 2010. AFP

The operation was conducted in a remote area along the boundary between Khyber and Aurakzai tribal regions on a tip-off from intelligence sources, a spokesman from the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The two abducted Sikhs - Surjeet Singh and Gurvinder Singh - are safe, the spokesman said, adding "many" militants were killed in the operation but did not specify the number.
Gurvinder, 16, was reunited with his family while Surjeet was admitted to a military hospital here as he sustained injuries to his back. Officials said Surjeet was out of danger. It could not immediately be ascertained how he was injured.

Gurvinder was taken to his home here in a procession after he was brought to the city by security forces. A special blue turban was tied on his head and he was garlanded. Flower petals were showered on him as he walked through his neighbourhood.
A large number of Sikhs joined Gurvinder when he offered prayers at Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh. Sikh elders thanked the army for rescuing the two. The Sikhs are living in peace and had no enmity with anyone, they said.

The two members of the minority community were kidnapped along with another Sikh named Jaspal Singh about 40 days ago while travelling to the Tirah region of Khyber Agency to conclude a business deal. The beheaded body of Jaspal Singh was found in the tribal area on February 21.

Sources said the body of another Sikh, Mahal Singh, was recovered on the same day in Aurakzai Agency.However, Pakistani officials have maintained that only Jaspal Singh's body was found by authorities.

While the killings had sparked a furore in India, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had directed authorities to take "stern action" against the abductors and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Zardari has also directed authorities to rescue Robin Singh, a Hindu man who was recently abducted for ransom from Peshawar.Local political leaders have said that Robin Singh's abductors have demanded Rs 10 million for his release.Sikhs are a tiny minority in Pakistan with most of them living in Peshawar, Khyber Agency and others areas of the northwest.

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