A young Sikh hakim (medicinal practitioner) was shot and injured during an armed robbery in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Tuesday.
The robber after stealing the cash and other valuables from the shop was fleeing the crime scene when Pepinder Singh raised hue and cry, drawing attention of the locals who caught the robber and handed over the accused to police.
However, Singh suffered bullet injuries on his feet and was rushed to the Lady Reading Hospital in critical condition. The Sikh community leaders also gathered outside the hospital in large numbers and held a protest demonstration.
According to SP Saddar Circle Muhammad Farhan, a passer-by also sustained injuries in the incident. The accused has been identified as Ahmad, a resident of Peshawar.
Ahmed is also a drug addict and had remained involved in other criminal activities. Last year, traders belonging to the Sikh community were deprived of their mobile phones worth around Rs3 million by robbers but no recovery has been made despite the passage of one year.
Sukh Paal Singh, the caretaker of Gurdwara Shahid Ganj Singh Singhania of Lahore, condemned the attack.
“Business rivalries are dangerous for religious minorities in Peshawar. This religious intolerance turns into violence. Provincial capitals like Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi are more suitable for Sikh traders,” he told Kross Konnection.
“Police has failed in providing security. Minorities are once again being targeted by terrorists. We should be protected,” stated Radesh Singh Tony, a Sikh human rights activist, in a Facebook post.
Religious minorities in Peshawar have been frequently attacked in recent years. Hindus and Sikh businessmen have often complained of threats for extortion money.
Last month, 70-year-old Pastor William Siraj was shot dead while another was injured in Peshawar in what police are investigating as a targeted killing.
A day later, a 50-year-old Hindu trader Sutan Lal Dewan was gunned down when he was returning home from an inauguration ceremony at a cotton factory in Daharki town in Ghotki district, Sindh province
In September 2021, unidentified gunmen shot dead Sikh hakim Satnam Singh in the militancy-hit northwest. The incident was termed terrorism, and an FIR of the killing was also registered. However, no progress has been made in the case yet.
In 2018, a veteran Sikh peace activist Charanjeet Singh was shot dead by unidentified armed men in his grocery store in Peshawar. According to police, Singh was killed for failing to pay extortion money. Following the incident, his family left the provincial capital.
Five Ahmadis have been gunned down in the last two years in the provincial capital.