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  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/14562428.Lorry_drivers_jailed_for_trafficking_run_in_which_man_died_in_front_of_family/
  4. Just saw this on my social media feed. http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/11415007.TILBURY_DEATH_LATEST__Local_Sikhs_help_Afghani_victims/
  5. 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.
  6. 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/
  7. 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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