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Sikh community leader shot dead in Peshawar

By Javed Aziz Khan
May 30, 2018

PESHAWAR: A Sikh community leader, Charanjeet Singh, was shot dead by unidentified armed men in his grocery store at the Scheme Chowk on the Kohat Road here Tuesday.

Police said armed men opened fire on Charanjeet Singh, who was in his late 40s, outside his shop in the afternoon and then made good their escape. He was shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital, but succumbed to his injuries on the way.

"He had been running the shop for 30 years. He had no enmity," a leader of the Sikh Community, Baba Gurpal Singh, told The News. According to Gurpal Singh, Charanjeet Singh was an active member of various organizations promoting of interfaith harmony. "Unfortunately those working for interfaith harmony like Sardar Soran Singh and Charanjeet Singh don't live for long. They need to be given protection," said Gurpal Singh.

Sardar Soran Singh was an adviser to the chief minister on minority affairs wen he was shot dead by unknown gunmen in his native Buner district. He was an active leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Gurpal Singh said one of his brothers and some other members of the community were killed in attacks by unidentified men in recent years. The killing of Charanjeet Singh, however, is the first attack on Sikhs in Peshawar in the last almost four years.

In the last incident in 2014, one Jagmohan Singh was killed while Bahram Singh and Manmit Singh were wounded when they were attacked at their shops in the Shabab market in Peshawar's Hashtnagri locality.

Sikhs in Peshawar enjoy cordial relations with the local Muslims since they have been living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata for years. In fact, the Sikh community during Ramazan daily arranges Iftar for Muslims at different parts of Peshawar. Most Sikhs in the city are doing business and some are practitioners of traditional medicine.