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Taliban prevent 60 Sikhs from leaving Afghanistan for carrying Holy Scriptures

60 Sikhs were denied permission by the Taliban from leaving Afghanistan as they were carrying holy scriptures with them. SGPC asked the Centre to intervene and ensure that the community’s sentiments were not hurt or disrespected in landlocked Afghanistan

Taliban prevent 60 Sikhs from leaving Afghanistan for carrying Holy Scriptures

New Delhi: Sixty Afghan Sikhs who were scheduled to arrive in India on September 11 were stopped by the Taliban regime from leaving the country as they were carrying holy scriptures with them. Following the incident, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday condemned the Taliban move and asked the Centre to intervene and ensure that the community`s sentiments were not hurt or disrespected in landlocked Afghanistan. 

SGPC President Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami strongly condemned the ban on taking the "holy body of Sri Guru Granth Sahib" out of Afghanistan by the Taliban regime, according to a statement issued by the committee. He said that according to the information received by the committee, a group of 60 Afghani Sikhs were supposed to come to India on September 11, but they could not arrive because they were prevented from bringing the "holy image of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji".

The Shiromani Committee President termed it a "direct interference" in the religious affairs of the Sikhs by the Taliban regime, according to the statement. Advocate Dhami said that on the one hand, attacks were being carried out against Sikhs and holy Gurudwaras inside Afghanistan while on the other hand they were being prevented from bringing the holy scripture with them to India.

Advocate Dhami said that the Sikhs in Afghanistan were leaving the country because "they are not safe and when the Sikhs do not stay in the country, then who will take care of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?" 

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"That is why Sikhs bring the holy Guru Granth Sahib with them when they come to India," he explained. Dhami said the Taliban regime should not take decisions against the sentiments of Sikhs. The SGPC chief also made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter and stop the actions being taken by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan against the religious sentiments of the Sikhs.

Religious minorities in Afghanistan, including the Sikhs, have been victims of repeated targeted attacks after the Taliban took control of the country. There was a spate of attacks on Sikhs in Afghanistan recently. On June 18 this year, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacked the Karte-Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul which claimed the lives of about 50 people. There have been other attacks as well.

In March 2020, a deadly attack took place at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Gurudwara in Kabul`s Short Bazaar area in which 27 Sikhs were killed and several were injured. Islamic State terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack. There were just about 700 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan in 2020, but a large number of them left the country following the Taliban`s takeover on August 15, 2021.

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