South Asia

Dragged by Hair and Evicted, Pakistan's First Sikh Police Officer Alleges Assault

In a video post on Facebook, Gulab Singh Shaheen said officials of the Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board removed his turban and dragged him out of his home in front of his wife and children.

New Delhi: The first Sikh traffic police officer in Pakistan Gulab Singh Shaheen has alleged that he was harassed and “pulled by his hair” while he and his family were being evicted from their house in Dera Chahal village, around 28 km from Lahore, by officials of the Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board (PETPB). The parent body of the PETPB is the Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC).

Gulab Singh, who has been in and out of the news since he joined the force in 2006, has spoken out on Facebook about how the government is using subversive methods to evict the Sikh community from Pakistan.

“I was pulled by my hair and dragged out in front of my wife Paramjit Kaur and three sons. This is how Sikhs are treated in Pakistan,” he said. “My house is sealed with all belongings including my slippers are inside. Even this ‘patka‘ on my head is an old rag which I just wrapped. I was harassed and beaten.”

In an interview with ANI, Singh said, “Since 1947, my family has been staying in Pakistan. Even after the riots, we did not leave Pakistan. Now, we are being forced to leave.”

According to him, this could be retaliation for a case he had filed against Syed Asif Akhtar Hashmi for illegal selling of the Gurudwara property in 2011, media reports said.

PETPB maintains that Gulab Singh had illegally been occupying the langar hall of Gurdwara Janum Asthan, which was vacated by an anti-encroachment team on Tuesday.

Singh alleged that the PETPB has “amassed crores of rupees and not a single penny was spent on us” and the PSGPC president Tara Singh was the main culprit behind the incident.

“The concerned officials have done this to please a few people. They have specifically targeted me,” he alleged.

Pakistan is home to approximately 20,000 Sikhs, though the real figure is unknown as many from the community were excluded from the census. For years, reports have trickled out of Pakistan where Sikhs, who form a small minority in the Islamic republic, have spoken out of being discriminated against. According to a few reports, hate crimes against Sikhs settled in Pakistan have increased exponentially over the last few months.

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