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Ind-Ams condemn killing of Sikhs-Hindus in Afghanistan

Ind-Ams condemn killing of Sikhs-Hindus in Afghanistan
July 04
11:57 2018

India Post News Service
WASHINGTON, DC: Indian Americans across the country expressed their profound shock and sadness over reports that a suicide bomber attack on a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan had killed 19 and wounded at least 20 others who were en route to Jalalabad, to meet the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.
Though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, it is a well known fact that both Taliban and Islamic State-affiliated groups are active in the area.

Killed in the attack were two of the most prominent members of the dwindling Afghan Sikh community: Avtar Singh Khalsa, who was expected to run in upcoming elections for Parliament and Rawail Singh, who was involved in sending local community teachers to India for further education and training.
Sunil Ishaizsay, a leader of the Afghan Hindu Community based in Washington, DC, said that Rawail Singh was a selfless person who embodied the Sikh tradition of sewa [selfless social service]. He promoted peace in his country by encouraging Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims to coexist in harmony. With the loss of Rawail Singh, Avtar Singh Khalsa and other prominent members of the Afghan Hindu-Sikh community, the community as a whole has lost the voice and hope for peace in Afghanistan.
Samir Kalra, Hindu American Foundation Managing Director and author of ‘Hindus in South Asia & The Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights’, commented: “While we’re certainly saddened by the news of this devastating attack, it’s unfortunately not shocking. It continues the now decades-old pattern of persecution and violence faced by both Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan. As there are only an estimated 200 Sikh and Hindu families remaining in Afghanistan, this attack is particularly tragic.”

Madhu Patel of NRI Press Club expressed his deep sense of loss and said that such attacks – suicide bombings – are a regular happening in many parts of the word especially in Muslim areas and it is up to the sane elements in the community to stand up together and unitedly condemn such dastardly attacks. “The message that this is also one of the most un-Islamic acts should be sent to these inane people and Jihadis,” he said.
NFIA chief Sohan Joshi also condemned such acts which do more harm than good to the name of Islam which adherents insist is a peaceful religion.
The HAF has called on the US State Department to designate Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan as a separate category of people for purposes of asylum in the United States, recognizing the particularly precarious state of both communities in Afghanistan and the existential threats they face there.
Sikhs and Hindus have long suffered widespread discrimination in the conservative Muslim country and have been targeted by Islamic extremists. The community numbered more than 80,000 in the 1970s but today only around 1,000 remain. In recent years, large numbers of Sikhs and Hindus have sought asylum in India, which has a Hindu majority and a large Sikh population.

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