Two Sikhs rescued from Taliban’s clutches by Pakistan Special Forces

Two Sikhs, abducted for ransom by Taliban in the troubled Khyber tribal region bordering Afghanistan, were on Monday rescued by Pakistani security forces, a week after another Sikh trader was beheaded by the militants in captivity.

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 on 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.

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