Afghan Hindus and Sikhs are constantly threatened by Taliban attacks.
The Canadian government has not included the Afghan Hindu and Sikh communities in its relocation plan; India seems to be the only hope.
The situation in Afghanistan has been extremely hostile in recent months. The Taliban, who claim they have already conquered 85 percent of Afghan territory, continue to kill innocent people. She enforces Sharia law in the areas she controls, uses children as human shields and kidnaps women to force them into sex slavery.
Religious minorities in Afghanistan or even Pakistan and Bangladesh have always been under the weapon of the Taliban. Religious minorities in these countries have been discriminated against and their places of worship have either been destroyed or are constantly threatened with destruction.
However, recent events in Afghanistan make it clear that the Taliban, as in the past – when Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar ordered in March 2001, the two Buddha statues from the 6th will deny Sharia and practice any religion other than Islam .
Last week the Taliban removed the Sikhs’ religious flag – Nishan Sahib – from the roof of Gurdwara Thala Sahib, a gurdwara visited by Sri Guru Nanak Dev in Chamkani, Paktia province, Afghanistan. When India later condemned the act, it was restored on August 6th.
Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was reportedly “brutally murdered” by the Taliban after they verified his identity.
These incidents last month show that the Taliban are aggressive towards other cultures and India.
After India chaired the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in August, it condemned the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and expressed deep concern over the Taliban’s military offensive. On August 6, during the UN Security Council briefing on the “Situation in Afghanistan”, the UN body condemned the Taliban’s terrorist attacks and atrocities against Afghan nationals and made it clear that the UN body would not accept the restoration of the Islamic Emirates.
The demographics of Afghanistan show that more than 90 percent of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus have either been killed or have fled the country and the remaining population is now living in fear due to the rise of the Taliban.
According to reports, there were around 220,000 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan in the 1980s. This dropped to 15,000 during the mujahideen rule in the 1990s, and by 2016 the Hindu and Sikh populations had dropped to an estimated 1,350.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), only 583 Hindus and Sikhs were registered as voters in the October 2018 elections in Afghanistan.
The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2019 states: “Sikh and Hindu leaders estimate that there are 120 Sikh and Hindu families totaling about 550 people … mostly in Kabul, with some parishes in Nangarhar provinces and Ghazni. “
In a January 27, 2021 note provided by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to the Country Policy and Information Team, a response from Narinder Singh Khalsa, a Sikh MP in Afghanistan, was quoted in the he said that there were about 200 Sikhs (44 families) left Afghanistan.
Afghan Sikhs and Hindus reportedly appealed to the international community in July to help and evacuate them from Afghanistan as they fear for their lives even more now that the Taliban took control of much of Afghan territory. Up to 150 Sikhs and Hindus live in fear in Kabul.
In July, two members of the Sikh community were injured in a violent explosion in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, which struck a shop near Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar.
The President of Gurdwara Kartae Parwan, Kabul, Gurnam Singh, said TOI, “At the moment we live in Kabul and we are safe, but no one knows how long we will be safe.”
He also said that she is hoping for help from Canada and that the minority community does not want to move to India because the living conditions and financial security of other Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are not good. Singh lived in India for a few months and lost his 14-year-old daughter to Covid-19 during the stay, after which he returned to Kabul.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government had rejected them (Afghan Sikhs and Hindus) and had not included Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in their resettlement plan. Last month Canada introduced a relocation plan for Afghan nationals who had helped the Canadian Army in Afghanistan and provided them with construction workers, cleaners, drivers, security guards, etc.
Before the relocation plan was announced, the World Sikh Organization urged the Canadian government to include 200 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who could be attacked by the Taliban in its relocation plan, but their appeal was ignored.
For Hindus and Sikhs living in Afghanistan in a situation where survival has become difficult, India seems to be the only hope not only for help in leaving Afghanistan, but also for security in these challenging times of the pandemic.