Kabul gurdwara attack: Sikh bodies seek UN intervention for safety of minorities in Afghanistan

Sikh bodies' appeal comes in the wake of the dastardly attack at Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh, Karte Parwan in Afghanistan’s Kabul which left two persons Sawinder Singh, 61, and a security guard Ahmad dead.  

Kabul gurdwara attack: Sikh bodies seek UN intervention for safety of minorities in Afghanistan

New Delhi: Observing that religious sites are representative of the history, social fabric, and traditions of people in every country and community, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that religious sites and all places of worship and contemplation should be safe havens, not sites of terror or bloodshed. Unfortunately, it is the religious places that have become a  flashpoint of the religiously motivated hatred and have come under attacks by the terrorists.

The recent incident is of dastardly attack at Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh, Karte Parwan in Afghanistan’s Kabul which left two persons Sawinder Singh, 61, and a security guard Ahmad dead.  

Before fleeing, the terrorists set the Gurdwara building on fire following a gun battle with Taliban fighters who finally took control of the Gurdwara. Reports suggest that a few Sikhs were injured while the three saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib were evacuated to safety.

All eyes are once again set on the United Nations (UN)  to ensure that its resolution is implemented with both the Sikh’s apex body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Sikhs prominent seminary Damdami Taksal issuing an appeal to the UN to intervene and ensure that minuscule Sikh and Hindu communities of Afghanistan is evacuated to safety, their properties and religious places are preserved.

The SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami and Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Khalsa has called on the UN  to take initiatives to ensure the safety of Sikhs in Afghanistan.

Given the urgency of the situation and life threat to the minorities in Afghanistan and the government's proceedings at a snail’s pace, a businessman and philanthropist turned Member of Parliament Vikram Sahney has offered to evacuate the remaining 164 Sikhs and Hindus from Kabul.

Talking to the media, Sahney who is also the president of the World Punjabi Organisation (WPO) said in the past that WPO had sent 3 chartered flights to evacuate Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan. “Similarly are ready to bring remaining Sikhs and Hindus back from Afghanistan by sending a chartered plane but we need the government to issue them e-visas at the earliest”, he said.

The gurdwaras are visible where a large number of congregation gathers to offer prayers and perform religious services thus they become a vulnerable target for violence at least for their symbolic political significance for the terrorists.

Puneet Singh Chandok, President of India World Forum who worked as a bridge between the Afghan Hindu/Sikhs and the authorities in the country thanked the Central government for issuing the visas to over one hundred members of minorities in Afghanistan. He said that the UN should make sure the safety and security of members of ministries in Afghanistan and the properties and religious places of the minorities. 

Expressing concern over the Kabul Gurdwara attack, Sikh body United Sikhs observes that they were worried that Sikh identity, culture, and religion continue to be under attack globally because of their distinct appearance and the hate-driven and malicious motives of the terrorists.

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