Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Source: TOI.in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met with members of the Sikh-Hindu delegation from Afghanistan at his residence. The delegation hailed the NDA government for enacting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and thanked the PM for bringing Sikhs and Hindus safely to India from Afghanistan.

Read Full Post »

Afghan Sikhs reach Mexico

Read Full Post »

Source: Khmer Times

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AFP) — The caretaker of the last Sikh temple in Kabul to regularly host open prayer surveys in the cavernous hall where throngs once gathered in worship.

Only a handful are left now.

“Afghanistan is our country, our homeland,” said Gurnam Singh. “But we are leaving out of sheer hopelessness.”

In the 1970s, Afghanistan’s Sikh population numbered 100,000, but decades of conflict, poverty, and intolerance have driven almost all of them into exile.

The Soviet occupation, subsequent Taliban regime, and bloody US-led military intervention winnowed their numbers to just 240 last year, according to figures kept by the community.

After the Taliban returned to power in August, opening the newest chapter in Afghanistan’s dark history, a fresh wave of Sikhs fled the country.

Today, Gurnam Singh estimates just 140 remain, mostly in the eastern city of Jalalabad and in Kabul.

These remaining devotees trickle into the Karte Parwan Gurdwara temple for a recent prayer session on a wintry Monday.

Men stand to one side, women to the other – about 15 in total.

Sitting barefoot on a floor covered with thick red rugs, they warm themselves around stoves and listen to a recitation from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.

In November, the temple had three copies, but two have since been sent to New Delhi for “safekeeping”.

Sikhs have long faced discrimination in Muslim-majority Afghanistan. Poverty is rife and attacks from the Islamic State-Khorasan, the jihadist group’s Afghan chapter, are a real threat.

The overwhelming majority of Sikhs fleeing Afghanistan have landed in India, where 90 percent of the religion’s 25 million global adherents live, mainly in the northwest region of Punjab.

Since the Taliban takeover, India has offered exiled Sikhs priority visas and the opportunity to apply for long-term residency. There is no sign yet that citizenship is on the table.

Pharmacist Manjit Singh, 40, is among those who turned down the offer, despite his daughter having emigrated there with her new husband last year.

“What would I do in India?” he asked. “There is no job or house there.”

Among the remaining holdouts, the prospect of leaving is particularly wrenching: it would mean abandoning their spiritual home.

“When this gurdwara was built 60 years ago, the whole area was full of Sikhs,” said 60-year-old community elder Manmohan Singh.

“Whatever joy or sorrow we felt, we shared it here.”

From the outside, the temple is largely indistinguishable from other buildings on the street.

But security here is markedly high, with body searches, ID checks, and two fortified doors.

In early October, unidentified gunmen forced their way inside and vandalised the sacred space.

The incident had ugly echoes of the most scarring attack on the Afghan Sikh community.

In March 2020, members of IS-K assaulted the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Shor Bazar, a former enclave of Kabul’s Sikh community, killing 25.

Since the attack, that temple — and the nearby Dharamshala Gurdwara, the capital’s oldest Sikh house of worship at an estimated 500 years — have been abandoned.

Parmajeet Kaur was struck by shrapnel in her left eye during the IS-K attack, and her sister was among those killed.

In the weeks that followed, Kaur packed her bags and headed for Delhi, but “we had no work and it was expensive, so we came back”, she said.

That was in July, a few weeks before the Taliban returned to power.

Now Kaur, her husband, and three children are fed and housed by Karte Parwan Gurdwara.

Her children do not go to school, and Kaur never ventures beyond the walls of the temple, the only place where she feels safe.

She thinks about leaving again, this time for Canada or the United States.

“My son and daughters are still small,” she said. “If we leave, we can make something of our lives.”

In the 1970s, Afghanistan’s Sikh population numbered 100,000, but decades of conflict, poverty and intolerance have driven almost all of them into exile. AFP
Sikhs have long faced discrimination in Muslim-majority Afghanistan. AFP
Parmajeet Kaur ‘s children do not go to school, and she never ventures beyond the walls of the temple, the only place where she feels safe. AFP

Read Full Post »

Source: Pajhwok

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan Hindu and Sikh minorities have held a meeting with Acting PM Aide Mawlvi Abdul Kabir and demanded the recovery of their grabbed lands.

Government Acting Spokesperson Enamullah Samangani on his twitter handler wrote visiting minority delegation reaffirmed their commitment to the reconstruction of the country and vowed to stay inside the country in the future and play their role in the state building.

He said minority members of Sikh and Hindu communities demanded the recovery of their grabbed land.

Assistant PM Aide Mawlavi Abdul Kabir said that Islamic Emirate brought security and stability to the entire country to ensure the protection of public life, including minority.

After the Taliban takeover, some people entered Hindu worship place in Kart-i-Parwan area and beaten its security guards.

The Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid then said that some people had been arrested in connection to attack on minorities worship place.

Read Full Post »

Source: Hindustan Times

A special chartered flight from Kabul will land in Delhi with more than 100 people, mostly Afghan Sikhs and Hindus and a few Indian nationals, on Friday.

The Afghans are bringing back some Sikh and Hindu holy books from an old gurdwara and a Hindu temple in Kabul. The flight, chartered by the government of India, will take back about 90 Afghan nationals and medicines from India.

A statement from the India World Forum said three Guru Granth Sahib and Hindu scriptures including from the Ramanaya, Mahabharat and Bhagavad Gita from the ancient Fifth Century Asamai Mandir in Kabul are being flown to India.

The forum further said the Afghan nationals will be rehabilitated by the Sobti Foundation.

“The family of Mahram Ali, a local security guard who was killed during the terror attack in Gurdwara Guru Har Rai, Shor Bazar, Kabul is also being airlifted and will be rehabilitated by Sobti Foundation,” the statement read.

The Guru Granth Sahib will be taken to Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Mahavir Nagar and the Hindu religious scriptures will be kept at the Asamai Mandir in Faridabad.

Since August, India has evacuated over 500 stranded individuals from Afghanistan when Kabul was taken over by Taliban fighters.

Minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan told Parliament last week ministry officials were in contact with the Indians left behind.

Read Full Post »

Source: Indian Express

India, on Friday, evacuated 104 people, including 10 Indian nationals, from Kabul in a special charter aircraft. Two saroops of the Guru Granth Sahib and Hindu holy scriptures were also flown in on the flight.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the flight was arranged under India’s operation Devi Shakti, launched to evacuate Indians from Afghanistan after the war-torn country fell to the Taliban on August 15.

“Under Operation Devi Shakti, a special Kam Air flight arranged by India has arrived in New Delhi from Kabul,” Bagchi tweeted. “It has brought 10 Indians and 94 Afghans including members of the Afghan Hindu-Sikh minority community. Among the evacuees are 9 children, including 3 infants.”

It is learnt that both the Indian government and the Afghan embassy in Delhi coordinated to arrange for the flight.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and BJP president J P Nadda were present at the airport to receive the flight.

Puri tweeted, “Deeply blessed to join Adhyaksh Sh @JPNadda Ji, @adeshguptabjp Ji & others in paying obeisance to the two holy Saroops of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on their arrival from Kabul with members of the Sikh Sangat & Hindu community.”

He added, “Copies of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Sri Ramcharit Manas & other Hindu holy scriptures & rare manuscripts from Asamaya Mandir in Kabul were also brought back by members of the Sikh Sangat & Hindu devotees on a special flight today.”

Former SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who recently joined the BJP, said the entire expense of the evacuation was borne by the Central government. “We spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah for evacuating the remaining Afghan Sikhs and Hindus from Kabul and he had assured us that they will be brought to India safely,” Sirsa said.

The Guru Granth Sahib saroops have been sent to the Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev in Delhi’s Mahavir Nagar, while the Hindu religious scriptures have been sent to Asamai Mandir in Faridabad.

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Gurnam Singh of the Karte Parwan gurdwara in Kabul said, “Nearly 120 Sikhs and Hindus are still left here but some of them can’t leave due to personal reasons. Others may leave in the coming days if another flight operates. I chose to stay back as there has to be someone to take care of gurdwaras.”

Kulwinder Singh, one of the evacuated Afghan Sikhs who arrived in Delhi Friday, said he doesn’t have any plan to return to Afghanistan. “Life in India now starts from scratch. Our priority is to find work but it isn’t easy. Some families who had shifted here last year are getting monthly amount for house rent and other expenses from some NGOs… but that isn’t a permanent solution… But it is better to live in India as a refugee than in fear of death every single day in Afghanistan.”

At least 70 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including MPs Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honoryar, were evacuated to Delhi in two batches of 24 and 46 earlier this year.

Read Full Post »

Source: daijiworld.com

New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS): 

The ‘Afghan Minorities Group’, a representative forum for all Afghan minorities living in India, has sought assistance from the Indian government for immediate grant of e-Visa for 222 Afghan citizens, both Hindu and Sikh, living in Afghanistan who have applied for Visa.

It also demanded the Indian government to look after their evacuation at the earliest due to the political and security situation in the war-torn country.

The forum requested the Indian authorities to consider not to facilitate their travel back to Afghanistan or not grant any exit permission to the Afghan citizens belonging to Hindu and Sikh communities due to the unforeseen incidents seen in the past against minorities in Afghanistan.

In a letter sent recently to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Secretaries in the Ministries of Home and External Affairs, the Afghan Minorities Group also requested the Indian government to extend assistance in the maintenance and management of the historical gurdwaras and temples in Afghanistan.

“You may be aware that there is no decision maker left in Afghanistan or any community authorised representative in the administration there or any other efficient local community welfare organisation operating for the same in Afghanistan,” the forum said.

Thanking the Indian government for taking proactive steps for the safety and well-being of minorities living in Afghanistan as per the UN Charter, the Afghan body said that it is obliged for all the assistance provided to the minorities till date.

Read Full Post »

Source: The Times of India

AMRITSAR: In a major respite for Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, who are eager to flee from the country, the Taliban authorities have declared that they can fly out of the country using their old passports. 
The Taliban administration had in September announced that new passports will be issued in the name of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” which meant that the passports issued by the previous regime in the name of “Republic of Afghanistan” stands cancelled and wouldn’t be valid anymore. 
However, the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are now waiting for the issuance of emergency e-visas after India cancelled the old visas issued before the Taliban took control. “The Taliban administration had made an announcement in September but they have not begun the process so far,” said an Afghan Sikh.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »