Singh, center, said the building was once a vibrant temple attended by hundreds of Sikhs. Now two families call it home.
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Radesh Singh's grandfather was just 11 years old when he left his village in India's Punjab province to move to Peshawar, in the far northwest of the country on the Afghan border.Singh's grandfather would never return to his village, not even in 1947, when the Indian subcontinent was divided into majority Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, generating one of the largest migrations in modern history and unleashing a brutality that left few untouched as mobs of Hindus and Muslims turned on each other.Singh's family is neither Hindu nor Muslim but Sikh, a religious minority in both countries. The Sikhs had lived peacefully for centuries alongside their Pashtun Muslim countrymen.Today Sikhs are among Pakistan's smallest minorities.The CIA World Factbook estimates that 3.6 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people are non-Muslims, including Sikhs, Christians and Hindus.Until 1984, Singh said, Pakistan's Hindus and Sikhs lived as one in northwest Pakistan. Today Sikhs are battling with the Pakistan government for ownership of dozens of Sikh temples that they call gurdwaras; while it is slow going they have managed to reclaim some of the buildings.Singh, who heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan, said that since his homeland began to turn toward radical Islam, particularly in the Pashtun heartland, young Sikhs have been looking to leave.
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