Archive for October, 2021

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Source: The Indian Express

A group of armed men entered the gurdwara in Kabul Tuesday and allegedly vandalized the premises.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa Wednesday condemned the vandalism at the historic Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh Karte Parwan in Afghanistan allegedly by the Taliban extremists. A group of armed men entered the gurdwara in Kabul Tuesday and allegedly vandalized the premises.

In a statement, Randhawa said that the worst fears have started coming true, as the Taliban have started showing their true colours by way of complete intolerance towards the minorities leading to their intimidation and destruction of their religious places.

He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the matter at the United Nations. He said, since India did not have any diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, the “country should use the good offices of the UN and other international organisations to ensure that the minorities and their religious places are not harmed there”.

Randhawa also condemned Anas Haqani, the younger brother of Afghanistan Interior Minister Sirajudin Haqani of the ‘Haqani Network’ terror organization, for praising and glorifying Mahmud Ghaznavi for attacking and destroying the historic Somnath Temple in India.

“With such a parochial and puritanical mindset of the Taliban, it will be impossible for the minorities to survive in Afghanistan”, he observed, while adding that steps need to be taken to evacuate the minorities from that country and providing them shelter in India.

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Source: The Indian Express

An Afghan Sikh told The Indian Express that the intruders vandalised the office inside gurdwara premises and smashed at least ten CCTV cameras. They also overpowered two security guards.

A group of armed men allegedly stormed inside Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Sabha in Karte Parwan of Kabul on Tuesday evening and vandalised the premises.

While local Afghan Sikhs suspected that they were Taliban fighters, a probe was later launched to identify the intruders after some Taliban officials also reached the gurdwara to meet Sikh community leaders.

An Afghan Sikh told The Indian Express that the intruders vandalised the office inside gurdwara premises and smashed at least ten CCTV cameras. They also overpowered two security guards.

“None from Sikh sangat was present inside gurdwara when the intrusion happened. On Tuesdays, the Sikh community visits local temple to participate in prayers with a few Hindus who are left here,” he said.
“Just one Sikh, Satnam Singh, was present inside gurdwara. He thought they were Taliban fighters, but later Taliban officials denied this and said that they were not their men. But it is doubtful because they came in same vehicle as used by the Taliban. They did not harm Satnam Singh and just kept searching inside gurdwara. We don’t know what they were looking for. Taliban has assured us that they will identify them,” said another member of Afghan Sikh community.

This is the first such intrusion inside a gurdwara since Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 this year.
Last year, at least 25 members of Sikh community were killed when an Islamic State gunman had stormed Gurdwara Gur Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and opened fire.

Puneet Singh Chandhok, president, Indian World Forum, said: “They not only abused the sanctity of holy place but also vandalised it. We request PM Narendra Modi to intervene immediately to ensure safety of our Sikh and Hindu brethren still left behind in Afghanistan.”

Vikramjit Singh Sahney, president, World Punjabi Organisation, said that nearly 180 Sikhs and Hindus are still left in Afghanistan and India’s Ministry of External Affairs should take this up immediately with its counterparts and the United Nations, to ensure their safe evacuation.

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Source: Gandhara

Sikhs in Kabul say more than a dozen armed men attacked and briefly occupied a Sikh temple in the Kart-e Parwan district of the Afghan capital on October 5, tying up the guards and destroying security cameras.

There were no major injuries reported.

The leader of the temple, Gurnam, told RFE/RL that it was unclear who the perpetrators were, but the incident has heightened concerns about the minority Sikh community’s safety.

“At around 3:30 p.m. on [October 5], 15 to 20 militants entered the shrine and tied up the guards. They also broke security cameras,” Gurnam said. “They were in the gurdwara (temple) for about half an hour. Security officials did not tell us if they were thieves or the Taliban.”

Video that appeared on social media showed armed men inside the Sikh temple, with some commentators claiming that “Taliban” attacked the shrine and beat some worshipers.

But that accusation could not be confirmed.

Bilal Karimi, from the Taliban-led authorities’ media team, told RFE/RL that the attack was being investigated, but he did not elaborate.

Many religious minorities have suffered discrimination at the hands of Sunni Taliban militants, including during their reign in Kabul and other wide swaths of Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

The community of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs was once estimated to be more than 80,000 strong, but many left after the collapse of the communist regime in 1992.

Many have lost their businesses and properties during the various cycles of war during the past three decades.

More Afghan Hindus and Sikhs left for India after a deadly attack by gunmen on a Sikh shrine in Kabul in March 2020.

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