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Archive for August, 2013

Source: Khaama Press

By GHANIZADA – Wed Aug 14, 11:19 am

Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Tuesday met with the representatives of Hindu and Sikh minorities in Afghanistan, and vowed to take practical actions to resolve their issues.

Deputy council chief for Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan, Rawel Singh said that this was the first time they have met with the president of Afghanistan during the past 10 years, and president Hamid Karzai has vowed to take immediate actions to assure equal rights for the Hindus and Sikhs of the country.

Mr. Rawel Singh further added that their main issues include deletion of dedicated seat for Hindus and Sikhs from Afghan parliament, lack of cremation site, lack of residential houses, confiscation of their properties and security of their religious places.

He said, president Hamid Karzai vowed to resolve all the issues within the next one month and will hold another meeting with Hindus and Sikhs representatives to follow up on the issues.

The presidential palace media office following a statement also said that the issues of Hindus and Sikhs minorities will be discussed during the cabinet of ministers meeting.

The statement further added that the president Hamid Karzai assured the Hindus and Sikhs representatives of Afghanistan that they have equal rights as compared to the other citizens of the counry.

Presidential palace in it’s statement also added that the government of Afghanistan is keen to pave the way for the repatriation of other Hindus and Sikhs of the country by resolving the current issues.

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Source: Punjab Newsline

 

AMRITSAR: Talibanization of Afghan society over the last decade and the unrest related to dethroning the radicals has uprooted hundreds of Sikh families from Afghanistan. The Sikhs who had made the distant country their home for centuries now are living in pitiable conditions and had been heading either to Pakistan or India for shelter.

This was stated by none else but by a Member of Parliament in Afghanistan Anarkali Kaur Honayar who was in Punjab recently to take part in the Punjabi Conference held at Panjabi University, Patiala. Honayar said the Sikhs and their shrines in Afghanistan were in pitiable conditions and they require help from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and even the government of Punjab.

Though she stated that the Hamid Karzai government has been doing a lot for the Sikhs by ensuring their security and that of the Gurdwaras but a lot is to be done in the field of education and towards providing a general secure environment for the minority community.

Honayar stated that the condition of the Hindus and their temples was also deplorable and they too needed help as the Afghan society, which had been tolerant and liberal was highly radicalized due to the past years’ unrest.

There were over 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan till 1991 but their number has dropped drastically and they had been migrating to safer places, especially to Peshawar area of Pakistan where also the situation is critical due to the Talibans’s presence.

Honayar, who is also a renowned human rights activist, stated that the situation is so worrisome that the Sikhs and Hindus are forced to marry their daughters at the age of 13 or so due to lack of security for girls.

She said that there had been reports of kidnapping of girls and in general there is discrimination with the minorities in Afghanistan.

She said many of the Gurdwaras were damaged, including the one at Kabul, during various combats between Talibans and US forces. These Gurdwaras, she added, needed immediate repair and the SGPC could extend help in this regard.

She said the Karzai government has opened two schools each in Kabul and Jalalabad and there is plan to build a mini city too for the Sikhs and Hindus but a lot more is needed to be done to ensure their safety and that of their religious shrines and business establishment which will quell migration.

 

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