India has condemned the “targeted killing” of a member of the Sikh community in Pakistan, an incident that came a day after the mob attack on the Nankana Sahib gurdwara in the country, and asked Pakistan to “stop prevaricating” and protect its minorities.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi condemned the killing of Ravinder Singh, the younger brother of a television anchor, who was shot dead by unknown assailants in Peshawar.
India said it “strongly condemns the targeted killing of a minority Sikh community member in Peshawar that follows the recent despicable vandalism and desecration of the holy Gurdwara Sri Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib and the unresolved case of abduction, forced conversion and marriage of a Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur”.
It asked the Pakistani government to “stop prevaricating and take immediate action to apprehend and give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of these heinous acts”. Further, India said the Government of Pakistan “should act in defense of their own minorities instead of preaching sermons about it to other countries”.
Singh, a resident of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was killed on Saturday night when he was out shopping for his marriage to be held six weeks later. He is the younger brother of Harmeet Singh, the “first Sikh TV anchor in Pakistan” who works with Public News in Pakistan.
Investigators in Pakistan told The Indian Express that they were probing the murder from “different angles”. “The victim was to get married in February. We are investigating whether a jilted lover may have committed the crime. The victim had also given a sum of money as loan… So we are also investigating that angle too. We will also look at whether robbery was a motive,” the investigator said.
PTI quoted Harmeet Singh as telling the media that an unknown person called him from his brother’s cellphone on Saturday and informed him that his brother had been killed. “The government must arrest the culprits as early as possible. I will not find peace until the criminals are arrested,” he said.
In a tweet, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said he wad “shocked & anguished” over the killing of the Sikh youth. The tweet further read, “@ImranKhanPTI govt must ensure thorough investigation & strict punishment for the culprits. This is the time to act on what you preach.”
The MEA’s statement on the killing is seen as response to comments made by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and others since the abrogation of Article 370 in August and the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December.
In a tweet on Sunday, Imran Khan condemned the attack on Nankana Sahib, which he said was against his vision. Comparing the attack to the recent violence around the CAA protests, he said that it was different from the attacks on minorities in India as the RSS “supports” the oppression of minorities.
Khan said that “the major difference between the condemnable Nankana incident & the ongoing attacks across India on Muslims & other minorities is” that “the former is against my vision & will find zero tolerance & protection from the govt incl(uding) police & judiciary”. In another tweet, he added, “in contrast, Modi’s RSS vision supports minorities oppression & the targeted attacks against Muslims are part of this agenda”. He also said that the “RSS goons conducting public lynchings, Muslims being violated by mobs are all not only supported by Modi Govt but Indian police leads anti-Muslim attacks”.
Khan was caught on the wrong foot when he tweeted a fake video claiming that it showed police atrocities against India, but which turned out to be an older video from Bangladesh. He later deleted his tweet.
On December 21, Khan had tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India towards the creation of a “Hindu Rashtra”.
India’s statement on Sunday came two days after it had expressed concern at the attack on the Nankana Sahib gurdwara. On January 3, the MEA had said in a statement that India is concerned at the “vandalism carried out at the revered Nankana Sahib Gurdwara” and had added that the members of the “minority Sikh community have been subjected to acts of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji”. It had also mentioned Jagjit Kaur’s abduction and forcible conversion in August.