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A Sikh leader warns India to lift siege at three shrines

A militant Sikh leader, Harchand Singh Longowal, warned the Indian government Wednesday he would order suicide squads to liberate three Sikh shrines in the town of Moga if a siege on them were not lifted by Friday. The report was carried by the Press Trust of India (PTI).

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Mr. Longowal, who is president of the Sikhs' main political party, the Akali Dal, delivered the ultimatum after he heard that nearly 1,000 people inside the shrines were near starvation because their food and water supplies were cut off, PTI said.

The government believes several Sikh extremists have sought refuge in shrines across the rich farming state. Security forces have encircled the suspected hideouts.

Punjab police arrested 259 militant Hindus Tuesday and used nightsticks to rout rioting crowds of Hindus protesting attacks by Sikh extremists.

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