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DateLine Saturday, 26 May 2007

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Pakistani Sikhs protest against 'blasphemy' in India

PAKISTAN: More than 200 minority Sikhs rallied in mainly Muslim Pakistan Thursday to demand the arrest of a rival sect leader, as anger about the issue spread across the border from India.

The Sikhs in the eastern city of Lahore chanted slogans against the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect who had appeared in a newspaper advertisement dressed in the attire of a revered Sikh guru.

"We are here to express solidarity" with Indian Sikhs, said Bishen Singh, a leader of Pakistan's small Sikh community.

The northern Indian state of Punjab was on the boil for nearly a week as Sikhs clashed with followers of the sect, a multi-faith organisation that claims to have millions of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh followers.

The clashes have so far seen one person killed and dozens of others injured. The Sikh homeland of Punjab was partitioned between India and Pakistan after independence in 1947.

Lahore, Friday, AFP

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