The Sikh community lashed out at the Peshawar police for removing 20 policemen deployed at Mohallah Jogan Shah and Quaidabad following the abduction of Rakbir Singh on January 21.
The SSP ordered the posting of 20 policemen to protect Sikhs from kidnappings, theft and muggings – threats routinely faced by the thriving businessmen.
“Actually, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Haroon Bilour visited us and directed the police to protect us, but the deployment was only for two days. We have not seen them since,” said a member of the Sikh community requesting anonymity.
“The police have not only withdrawn rider squads and elite force commandos, there is no sign of Rakbir Singh’s recovery either,” he said.
For the Sikhs, the brief deployment of additional policemen was temporary appeasement. In a meeting with CCPO Imtiaz Altaf, they had been assured Rakbir would be recovered soon, but the police needed more time to work on the investigation.
He said his people were naturally worried about the recovery of Rakbir and armed robberies – crimes which did not seem to get the attention of authorities.
On January 8, the body of Mahinder Singh was found in a gunny bag in Jamrud, Khyber Agency. He had been abducted two months prior and a note found on his body warned ‘those found spying on Laskhar-e-Islam would face a similar end.’
Mahinder’s brother, Baswant had also been kidnapped, but returned home after militants chopped off his hair. In February 2010, Chopal Singh was found beheaded in Tirah.
There are 500 Sikh families residing in Peshawar, mostly in Mohallah Jogan Shah which also houses their 200-year-old Gurdwara.
Most of the Sikhs have migrated from Tirah valley, Khyber Agency as well as Orakzai and Kurram agencies due to the ongoing militancy and security operations.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2013.