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Found 11 results

  1. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/abducted-sikhs-wife-appeals-to-pm-as-afghan-gets-more-risky-for-minorities-104868 Abducted Sikh's wife appeals to PM as Afghan gets more risky for minorities Nidan Singh was abducted earlier this week Nidan Singh. Photo: Twitter Tribune News Service New Delhi, June 26 The wife of a Sikh man abducted in Afghanistan has asked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to have her husband freed and then granting Indian citizenship to her family of six. Attacks on Sikh minorities in Afghanistan have increased ever since India cast its lot with the Kabul regime in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. Another threat to the minorities has been the rise of an ISI-affiliated terrorist outfit. Security analysts believed it was behind the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib massacre in Kabul to announce its presence. The abducted Sikh, Nidan Singh, is an Afghan who had moved to India for some years when the Taliban gained ascendancy in the early 90s and worked odd jobs here. It is still not clear how and by whom Nidan Singh was asked to return and man Gurdwara Tala Sahib in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province near the border with Pakistan. The wider region called “Loya Paktia” has been a Mujahideen and then Taliban\Haqqani Group stronghold since the early 1980s. Nidan Singh lived at the gurdwara where Guru Nanak was reported to have visited with his wife and children and was responsible for its upkeep, sources said. Nidan Singh was abducted earlier this week. India and other countries are worried over the shrinking of space for Sikh and Hindu minorities ever since US-Taliban talks got into high gear and India excluded itself from establishing contacts with the insurgent group. India has condemned Nidan Singh’s abduction and the government hopes the Afghan government will be able to secure his safe and early release. Soon after the May 15 massacre at the Kabul Gurdwara, former US Vice-President Joe Biden had promised to raise the annual global refugee admissions cap to 1.25 lakhs if he won the November US Presidential elections. Implicit was the assurance that some of the quota would be for Afghanistan’s embattled Sikh community. The USCIRF, which frequently upbraids India for its treatment of minorities, had described the Kabul attack as a “terrible tragedy” for a “wonderful, peaceful religious group” that has been virtually decimated in Afghanistan with just a thousand left. Its chief Senator Sam Brownback was more guarded than Biden on the issue of citizenship but has mentioned the possibility of settling them in Canada, India or Pakistan. “We’ve been inquiring, as others have, of possible places for the remaining Sikhs in Afghanistan to go to be able to be safe. I don’t have anything publicly that I could say,” he had observed.
  2. Sikh separatist leader condemns Kabul gurdwara attack, requests India to shelter minorities from Afghanistan ANI | Updated: Mar 28, 2020 15:15 ISTFounder of Dal Khalsa and UK-based Sikh separatist leader Jaswant Singh Thekedar (File photo) London [UK], Mar 28 (ANI): Jaswant Singh Thekedar, the founder of Dal Khalsa - a Sikh separatist organisation, has condemned the barbaric attack on a historic gurdwara in Kabul and requested the Indian government to shelter the remaining families of Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan. On Wednesday, armed terrorists killed 25 civilians in a terror attack on the 400-year-old Gurdwara in Shor Bazar in Kabul. The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the attack, but many experts believe that Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), propagated it to oppose Ashraf Ghani, who was re-elected as the President of Afghanistan last month. In a video message, Singh said, "In Afghanistan, the way the Taliban carried out a barbaric attack on the Sikhs in Kabul's historic gurdwara and killed children and women who were praying for the people affected by coronavirus pandemic is highly condemnable." "The attackers are not religious people and they have no humanity. They have only one motive to call others as 'kafirs' or infidel and kill them. It is also preached in their holy book. This is an unforgettable incident for the Sikhs," he added. The separatist leader also stated that he has requested the Indian government to allow the remaining Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan to get them settled in India. "Our request has been accepted and after the COVID-19 crisis. Whoever will apply for a visa, the Indian government will facilitate them," he said. "We are thankful to the Indian authorities. We are also reaching out to the victims' families with all possible help. We are your brothers. The horrific attack has happened on the entire Sikh community. We all stand together with your pain," Singh added. The Sikh community in the war-torn country that once constituted a vibrant, well integrated and economically active part of the Afghan society has been persecuted and driven away, since the Taliban grabbed the reins in the 1990s. Their depletion has been so rapid that of the once close to a quarter of a million population, only a minuscule 1000-odd still remain in the country, barely eking out a livelihood amid extremely violent circumstances. (ANI)
  3. As this virus is out doing its worst in the world and we have evil sunni salafi islamic terrorists running around harming our people and other innocents. I think its time we did some reading and reflection on what sikhi and sikh history says about testing and trying times. Post any relevant gurbani scriptures or sikh ithihaas stories that may inspire others Heres mine: ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਨਿਤਾਣਿਆ ਕਾ ਤਾਣੁ ॥ साहिबु निताणिआ का ताणु ॥ Sāhib niṯāṇi▫ā kā ṯāṇ. Our Lord and Master is the Power of the powerless. ਆਇ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਥਿਰੁ ਸਦਾ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸਚੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ आइ न जाई थिरु सदा गुर सबदी सचु जाणु ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥ Ā▫e na jā▫ī thir saḏā gur sabḏī sacẖ jāṇ. ||1|| rahā▫o. He does not come or go; He is Eternal and Permanent. Through the Word of the Guru's Shabad, He is known as True. ||1||Pause|| ਜੇ ਕੋ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੁਬਲਾ ਨੰਗ ਭੁਖ ਕੀ ਪੀਰ ॥ जे को होवै दुबला नंग भुख की पीर ॥ Je ko hovai ḏublā nang bẖukẖ kī pīr. If you are weakened by the pains of hunger and poverty, ਦਮੜਾ ਪਲੈ ਨਾ ਪਵੈ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਦੇਵੈ ਧੀਰ ॥ दमड़ा पलै ना पवै ना को देवै धीर ॥ Ḏamṛā palai nā pavai nā ko ḏevai ḏẖīr. with no money in your pockets, and no one will give you any comfort, ਸੁਆਰਥੁ ਸੁਆਉ ਨ ਕੋ ਕਰੇ ਨਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਕਾਜੁ ॥ सुआरथु सुआउ न को करे ना किछु होवै काजु ॥ Su▫ārath su▫ā▫o na ko kare nā kicẖẖ hovai kāj. and no one will satisfy your hopes and desires, and none of your works is accomplished - ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਓਸੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਤਾ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਰਾਜੁ ॥੨॥ चिति आवै ओसु पारब्रहमु ता निहचलु होवै राजु ॥२॥ Cẖiṯ āvai os pārbarahm ṯā nihcẖal hovai rāj. ||2|| if you then come to remember the Supreme Lord God, you shall obtain the eternal kingdom. ||2|| ਜਾ ਕਉ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਵਿਆਪੈ ਰੋਗੁ ॥ जा कउ चिंता बहुतु बहुतु देही विआपै रोगु ॥ Jā ka▫o cẖinṯā bahuṯ bahuṯ ḏehī vi▫āpai rog. When you are plagued by great and excessive anxiety, and diseases of the body; ਗ੍ਰਿਸਤਿ ਕੁਟੰਬਿ ਪਲੇਟਿਆ ਕਦੇ ਹਰਖੁ ਕਦੇ ਸੋਗੁ ॥ ग्रिसति कुट्मबि पलेटिआ कदे हरखु कदे सोगु ॥ Garisaṯ kutamb paleti▫ā kaḏe harakẖ kaḏe sog. when you are wrapped up in the attachments of household and family, sometimes feeling joy, and then other times sorrow; ਗਉਣੁ ਕਰੇ ਚਹੁ ਕੁੰਟ ਕਾ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਸੋਇ ॥ गउणु करे चहु कुंट का घड़ी न बैसणु सोइ ॥ Ga▫oṇ kare cẖahu kunt kā gẖaṛī na baisaṇ so▫e. when you are wandering around in all four directions, and you cannot sit or sleep even for a moment - ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਓਸੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਤਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੩॥ चिति आवै ओसु पारब्रहमु तनु मनु सीतलु होइ ॥३॥ Cẖiṯ āvai os pārbarahm ṯan man sīṯal ho▫e. ||3|| if you come to remember the Supreme Lord God, then your body and mind shall be cooled and soothed. ||3|| - Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji ang 70 ================================================= The Great Battle of Balakot Between Wahaabi Salafi Jihadi's and Sikh Imperial Army - Khalsa Fauj The destruction of the foremost <Edited> Jihad. The battle of Balakot marks an extremely important revolution in the Sikh affairs of the late 1700’s. Inspired by extremism and an answer to the decadent policies of the virtually extinct mughal empire, the battle was the first jihad launched via the Wahaabi ideology. It aimed to usher Punjab into an Islamic past which would rival the golden age of the mughal state. Lead by a fanatical individual it aimed to eradicate the Sikh empire, expand the new state’s border to connect with British India and ultimately birth an extensively powerful Islamic state. Plans which were paid put by the Khalsa forces. The battle was the brainchild of Syed Ahmed, a deeply religious Islamic individual who has been awarded the honor of being the first indigenous Jihadi of the Indian sub-continent. He was born in Rai Breli in 1786 A.D., a time when the mughal state’s funeral bells were pealing with ever greater pitch. The Maratha confederacy had turned on their Mughal masters and had succeeded in establishing an independent domain of sorts, despite being severely mauled by the ferocious Afghanis. The Sikhs had succeeded in liberating major portions of Punjab and planting the seeds of a powerful and Alexandrian empire, whilst a major portion of the sub-continent was divided among various warlords, generals and princes. Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Syed Ahmed easily garnered the factor that attacking the British, who were a rising power, would earn him no territorial merit. It would only invoke the latter’s wrath upon him and crush his campaign. The Marathas despite being severely weakened by their engagements with the Afghanis, Sikhs and the British still presented a murderous front to any potential invader. This only left the Sikh empire, an isolated but extensively impregnable domain ruled over by Maharajah Ranjit Singh. An awe-inspiring Napoleonic figure in his own right. Ahmed based his assumptions on the Afghani intolerance of the Sikh infidels. He unwittingly assumed that the Afghani polity would aide him in crushing the infidel and liberating what he saw as being an oppressed populace. With these potential factors as his basis, Ahmed left his family and with total faith in Allah traversed towards Peshawar. His journey was arduous and extensively bone breaking. He took a route via Sindh, Quetta, Qandhar and Kabul, and arrived heavily exhausted in Peshawar where he outlined his plan to the various regional warlords and warrior populace. An extensive number of these individuals had prior to Ahmed’s arrival, crossed steel with the Khalsa forces and were heavily disillusioned by his ineptness and heavy reliance on fate amalgamated with luck. After depicting their ridicule of his planned campaign they left him, yet despite this failure, on Ahmed’s part, he still managed to raise a detachment of Mujhaideen warriors who being hot-blooded and head strong readily agreed to attack Sikh domains. Led by Ahmed they succeeded in attacking a few Sikh territories but were mostly beaten back, which subsequently lowered their morale and provoked no reaction from the Khalsa border forces. Ahmed on seeing this and after conferencing with his accomplices, including Shah Ismail the grandson of Shah Waliulah of Delhi, decided on a new course of action. He adopted a nomadic agenda and continually traveled from one province frontier to it’s neighbor until ultimately he set foot in Balakot in 1831 A.D. Foregoing all militaristic and rational notions, Ahmed’s strategy was to engage the Sikh in the mountains of Balakot, annihilate them and conquer neighboring Kashmir; another extended domain of Ranjit Singh’s regional fiefdom. “I am in the mountains of Pakhli (name of the area). The people here have welcomed us with warmth and hospitality and have given us a place to stay. They have also promised to support us in the jihad. For the time being, I am camped in the town of Balakot, which is located in the (river) Kunhar pass. The army of the infidels [kuffars] is camped not too far from us. Since Balakot is located at a secure place (surrounded by hills and bounded by the river), God willing, the infidels will not be able to reach us. Of course, we may choose to advance and enter into a battle at our own initiative. And this we intend to do in the next two or three days. With the help of God, we will be victorious. If we win this battle, and, God willing, we will, then we will occupy all the land alongside the Jehlum River including the Kingdom of Kashmir. Please pray, day and night, for our victory.” -Syed Ahmad’s letter to an accomplice. Hari Singh Nalwa, the lion-shredder, was the viceroy and commander-in-chief of the Punjab territories encircling Balakot. An intelligent and fearsome general Hari Singh commanded his main captain Sher Singh to encircle Balakot and move a battalion of the Khalsa forces to Muzaffarabad. A few companies also surrounded Mitti Kot, the mountainous terrain encircling Ahmed’s forces. Ahmed after surveying the battlefield had it flooded to encumber the attacking Khalsa forces. Headlong he fell into the elaborate trap planned by his foes, the Khalsa nerve-center had easily maneuvered it’s foe into the very position the latter had wanted to encumber the Khalsa in. On the days catalyzing in commencement of the battle a mujhaideen foolishly charged the Khalsa companies keeping him under surveillance. He became encumbered by the very mud which Ahmed had planned to annihilate the Khalsa opposition in. Khalsa snipers soon finished him off via their bullets. Realizing that his elaborate trap had been exposed, with the crack of dawn Ahmed ordered a headlong charge into the Khalsa forces. Discarding all caution the mujhaideen vainly charged the joyous Khalsa who readily clashed with it. Amongst cries of Allah, and Waheguru a bloody slaughter commenced in which the mujhaideen were rapidly dispatched to their resting regions. It is believed that 1300 mujhaideen blindly lost their lives that fateful day, with the Khalsa receiving only a few casualties. The first indigenous sub-continental jihad met it’s demise in a bloody fashion.
  4. Just posting this in case people aren’t aware of it. It was on BBC News channel a few days ago. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005y6f/our-world-the-last-sikhs-of-afghanistan
  5. Personally I don't see his idea happening anytime soon. But at least someone is actively talking about hard hitting solutions and bringing some justice to the shaheed's.
  6. http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/14562428.Lorry_drivers_jailed_for_trafficking_run_in_which_man_died_in_front_of_family/
  7. Just saw this on my social media feed. http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/11415007.TILBURY_DEATH_LATEST__Local_Sikhs_help_Afghani_victims/
  8. Seeing NATO'S and USA'S surrender of their Afghan campaign, although kudos to the fact that they gave Islamic radicals a taste of their own medicine, I have decided to do a short article on Hari Singh Nalwa's conquest of Afghanistan. Presently I am doing an article on Nalwa himself, and would love to do a second one on his exploits in Afghanistan. I would like to incorporate and answer the following points in my article: - What makes Hari Singh's conquest of Afghanistan so different from prior conquests lead by the Macedonians and the Marathas? - What political, social and religious factors assisted Nalwa in consolidating his prowess in Afghanistan? - What military factors contributed towards Nalwa's victory in Afghanistan? - How does NATO'S campaign differ from Nalwa's? -What elements are similar in both historic and modern campaigns? -If anything what lesson can we derive from both Hari Singh Nalwa's and NATO'S campaigns? For those who don't know, tisarpanth blogspot is my intellectual possession and most of the articles on there are my work. However I am always on the lookout for a fresh perspective on matters and decided to inquire around on forums, to see what answers I can gain on this new topic of mine. Any historic sources you know of will also be appreciated in this matter.
  9. Dwindling community struggles to maintain identity. By Mina Habib, Abdal We arent treated as human beings, Sikh businessman Amrit Singh said as he sat in his small grocery shop in the Kabul neighbourhood of Shor Bazaar. When we are alive, we are disrespected, insulted and beaten. And when we take our dead to the crematorium, which is our personal property, they wont let us burn the bodies, saying it stinks. Do we have any rights in this country or not? the 45-year-old asked. Hindus and Sikhs form a miniscule community in todays Afghanistan. Historically playing an important role as traders and entrepreneurs, they lived in Afghanistan in relative harmony for hundreds of years, mostly in the capital Kabul and in the southeastern Khost province. According to Avtar Singh, chairman of the national council of Hindus and Sikhs, the community now numbers only 395 families. Before the collapse of the pro-Soviet regime in 1992, he said, there were around 200,000 people from the two communities. During the civil war that followed, many sought refuge in other countries, India in particular. For those who remained, things got worse under the Taleban government of 1996-2001. Their freedom to practice their religion was restricted, and cremation was banned altogether. Although that ban is no longer in place, Avtar Singh said funeral rites remained a major issue, noting public opposition to the use of the 120-year-old crematorium in Qalacha, southeast of Kabul. When we take our dead bodies to the crematorium, we take the police with us. Even so, local people throw stones at us. They disrespect our dead, he said, adding that despite appeals to the Afghan parliament, the Independent Human Rights Commission, the United Nations mission and the United States embassy, his community had received little help. Daud Amin, deputy police chief in Kabul city, said that his forces were doing their best to protect the minority. We have always worked with them, he said. We have accompanied them and we havent allowed anyone to insult them. Members of the public threw stones at them only once, and we stopped it. We have helped them whenever theyve asked us for help. Residents of Qalacha insisted they had no problems with Hindus and Sikhs, only with the cremations. Gholam Habib Fawad, deputy chairman of the community council in Qalacha, said the crematorium used to be located far from residential areas, but that had changed as more homes were built in its vicinity. When they burn bodies there, the smell goes into the houses, he said. Many people react and fall sick. The children are scared. Some families need to leave their houses for several days and go and live with relatives. Avtar Singh denied that the cremations had any impact on the environment. Representatives from the municipality and the police have been present when we burned the bodies, and even they said they didnt smell anything, he said. Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, a Sikh member of the upper house of parliament, says she has raised the cremation issue at the highest levels. I have pursued [the Qalacha] issue with government officials myself, said Honaryar, who has been the Senates only non-Muslim member since 2010. They have been cooperative. I believe that certain political elements and foreign meddling are creating problems for the Hindus and Sikhs, since we didnt use to have problems with our Muslim brothers. Many Hindus and Sikhs, however, say they face threats, insults and even physical violence from their neighbours. Our women cant go out, said Bajan Singh, who has a grocery shop in Kabul. When our children go to school, they are insulted by their classmates for being Hindu. A number of our Hindu brothers have been beaten and their money stolen. All of our rights have been trampled on. I wish [the government] would move us to some other country. Honaryar acknowledged that Sikhs and Hindus faced some problems, which she attributed to ignorance in the wider community. She said she had asked the media and the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs to launch a public education campaign. In my opinion, the low level of public literacy, immigration [of returning Afghan refugees], and lack of information about the Hindu minority are the causes of this problem, she said. But not everyone is like that. Its just some ignorant people who do these things. I have contacted the police in such cases and they have been wholly cooperative and have punished the individuals involved. Honaryar said she was behind an initiative to build a purpose-built settlement in eastern Kabul complete with schools, a crematorium and other facilities for the Sikhs and Hindus in the city. But so far, the response had not been enthusiastic. Now that weve launched the town, no one is prepared to go there, she said. The municipality calls me every day and says construction work needs to get started there. Hindus and Sikhs living in Kabul said moving to new homes would not solve their problems, and they would face more security threats if they were outside the capital. We arent safe in the heart of Kabul even with all its police and laws, resident Manpal Singh said. How are we going to be able to live in a desert 20 kilometres outside from the city? What will the people in [other] villages do to us? Was there nowhere else in Kabul, so that they had to send us to deserts and mountains? Yet some people still have fond memories of a time when the Muslim and Hindu communities lived peacefully together. We shared our happiness and grief, said Badshah, a Muslim shopkeeper in the town of Khost. When we go to India now, we stay in their homes. They are proud Afghans. They are hospitable. They worked alongside us to address problems. I miss them. Samteral, a Hindu from Khost currently living in Kabul, said, We were so friendly with our Muslim brothers that we never even thought about who we were or who they were. We were all the same, Afghans. He said he was still in touch with Afghan Hindus now living in India. They all mourn for their homes and villages. I wish we had security. so we could all live together again, he added. Mina Habib is an IWPR contributor in Kabul. Abdali is an IWPR-trained reporter in Khost province. Source: IWPR Link:http://iwpr.net/report-news/tough-times-afghan-hindus-and-sikhs http://groundreport.com/hindus-and-sikhs-struggle-in-afghanistan/
  10. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-sikhs-20130611,0,1113100.story Afghanistan Sikhs, already marginalized, are pushed to the brink Widespread discrimination has prompted many Afghan Sikhs to flee, greatly diminishing their number. Those who remain fear their community may vanish altogether. Decades of war, instability and intolerance in Afghanistan have fueled waves of Sikh emigration, reducing the community to just 372 families nationwide, says Awtar Singh Khalsa, right, association president of the Karte Parwan temple in Kabul. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / April 25, 2013) KABUL, Afghanistan — Outsiders may have trouble distinguishing between the turbans worn by Afghan Sikhs, with their tighter folds, varied colors and tucked-in edges, and those worn by Afghan Muslims, usually black or white with the end hanging down the wearer's back. The subtle differences, however, and what they represent, have fueled widespread discrimination against Afghan Sikhs, members of the community say, prompting many to move away amid concern that the once-vibrant group could disappear. "For anyone who understands the differences in turbans, we really stand out," said Daya Singh Anjaan, 49, an Afghan Sikh who fled the capital, Kabul, for India after seeing his Sikh neighbors slain. "I'm sure the remaining Afghan Sikhs will vanish soon. Survival's becoming impossible." There are no exact records on when Sikhs, a 500-year-old monotheistic people from western India and modern-dayPakistan, arrived in Afghanistan, although most accounts place it around 200 years ago. Mostly traders, they prospered and numbered about 50,000 by the early 1990s, concentrated in Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar and Ghazni. But decades of war, instability and intolerance have fueled waves of emigration, reducing the community to just 372 families nationwide, said Awtar Singh Khalsa, association president of the Karte Parwan gurdwara, or temple. This is the last of eight gurdwaras that once operated in Kabul, he said. During the Afghan civil war of the mid-1990s, most of Kabul's solidly constructed gurdwaras were appropriated by battling warlords who shelled one another, destroying seven of them along with a Sikh school that once taught 1,000 students. Under Taliban rule, Sikhs had to wear yellow patches, reminiscent of the Jews under Nazi rule, and fly yellow flags over their homes and shops. Among the goals laid out by the United States and its allies after toppling the Taliban government in 2001 was religious tolerance for minorities, who account for about 1% of Afghanistan's population. In practice, Sikhs say, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's weak and embattled government rarely counters prejudice by the majority population, which emboldens attackers. Hooligans rob, insult and spit at them on the street, they say, order them to remove their turbans and try to steal their land. Particularly dispiriting, Afghan Sikhs say, are charges by the Muslim majority that they should "go home," even though they've lived in Afghanistan for generations and are protected, at least theoretically, by freedom-of-religion safeguards in the Afghan Constitution. Another disturbing example of the indignities they face is the treatment of their dead, many said. Cremation, a tenet of the Sikh faith, has been quietly practiced in Kabul's eastern district of Qalacha for more than a century. In recent years, however, some Sikhs who have tried to carry out cremations have been beaten up, stoned and otherwise blocked from doing so, at times decried as statue-worshiping infidels whose ceremonies "smell." Islam considers cremation a sacrilege. Many Sikhs said they've complained repeatedly to the government to little avail. "In the last decade, the Kabul government has specified 10 different places for Sikh burials and cremations, but villagers keep giving Sikhs problems," said Anarkali Honaryar, a senator representing the community. "Even when President Karzai issued a decree, nothing changed." While in New Delhi last month, Karzai said that Sikhs are a valued part of Afghanistan and that he was sorry so many had left. "We'll do our best to bring the Sikh community and Hindus back to Afghanistan," he said. Sikhs, Jews and other minorities enjoyed tolerance and relative prosperity until the late 1970s when decades of war, oppression and infighting set in. Although many Muslim families have also suffered hugely, Sikhs say they've faced worse pressures as a minority subject to forced religious conversions and frequent kidnapping, given their limited political protection and reputation for being prosperous. Pritpal Singh, an Afghan-born Sikh living in England who has documented the plight of Afghan Sikhs, said his brother was kidnapped shortly before the family left in 1992. "I really looked up to him; it was such a shock," he said. "They asked for crazy money and we couldn't pay, so they killed him." As conditions worsened, Sikhs turned increasingly inward, building a high wall around the lastgurdwara to prevent passersby from stoning the building, and cremating their dead inside, normally unthinkable, to stem angry mobs. Khalsa said he's met repeatedly with Karzai but nothing changes, and meetings with bureaucrats and politicians often end with demands for money. "Corruption is unbelievable," Khalsa said. "The Taliban were far better than this government." For those emigrating, India and Pakistan visas are much easier to secure than those to Europe, so some stop there first, then travel illegally to the West. Although securing a short-term visitor visa to India is relatively easy, obtaining citizenship is a "nightmare" given India's bureaucracy and general indifference, said Paramjit Singh Sarna, anIndian community leader in New Delhi assisting Afghan Sikhs. It does not help that Sikhism originated in India and that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a Sikh. Sarna said many Afghan Sikhs live in limbo in India. As "outsiders," they are unable to buy land or work, their travel is restricted, their children born stateless. Dhyan Singh, a 62-year-old Afghan Sikh who has lived in New Delhi since 1989, said he misses Afghanistan despite the problems. "Just last night, I dreamed I visited the Kabul gurdwara," Singh said. "It's only fear that keeps me away." mark.magnier@latimes.com Times staff writer Magnier reported from Kabul and New Delhi. Special correspondent Baktash reported from Kabul. Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times
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