Indian-Americans condemn the killing of Sikhs in Kabul

Harish Rao and Madhu Patel

CHICAGO: Indian Americans across the country have unequivocally condemned the killing of Sikh devotees in an attack (claimed by Islamic State), on a Kabul Gurdwara (Sikh temple) last week.
To add more anxiety and explosive device disrupted the funeral service for the 25 victims killed by the IS group the next day. No one was hurt in the blast, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

The explosion went off near the gate of a crematorium in Kabul even as the frightened mourners struggled to continue with the funeral prayers and cremations.
A 6-year-old child was among the victims of the attack by a lone IS gunman, who rampaged through a Sikh house of worship in the heart of Kabul’s old city. After holding some 80 worshippers hostage for several hours and wounding eight people, the gunman was killed by Afghan Special Forces aided by international troops.

Rajinder Singh Mago, a Sikh community activist in Chicagoland condemned this heinous and barbaric act killing innocent Sikhs and Nanakpanthi Hindus and observed that it is high time to have this minority community getting a safer place to stay and worship in Afghanistan If it is not assured efforts should be made to be them relocate in safer countries of their choice.

SikhhUNITED SIKHS in New York is deeply saddened in the wake of this cowardly attack on Gurdwara Guru HarRai in Shor Bazar, Kabul, The Sikh worshippers had gathered to pray for the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the globe. Sadly their prayers were shattered by bullets of terror.

UNITED SIKHS is in touch with the families on the ground and has set up a GoFundMe page along with a Facebook campaign for urgent assistance to the Afghani Sikhs impacted by this violence. The assistance will be two-folds – Advocacy to rehabilitate and Humanitarian Aid for urgent and emergency needs.

UNITED SIKHS urges the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, Pakistan and other countries to answer the plea of the Sikhs and give them Special Protected Status. Special entry into their countries via protected asylum, relocation, security and/or rebuilding efforts must be undertaken on an urgent basis.

The Hindu American Foundation is saddened and shocked by this cowardly attack on innocent Sikh and Hindu worshipers. This the latest example in the decades-old pattern of persecution and violence, faced by the dwindling Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan.”

According to Afghanistan security services, 25 people were killed and at least 8 others injured by four suicide bombers at the prominent Dharamshala Temple in the Shor Bazar area of Kabul. About 150 worshipers were inside at the time of attack including women and children.

The Islamic State, or Daesh, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Some Afghan experts, however, have pointed to a possible role of the Haqqani group and Lashkar-e-Taiba, both of whom are supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

“This reprehensible violence violates the basic tenets of Islam and must be condemned in the strongest terms,” said Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a constituent organization of AJA, “The targeting of religious minorities for mass violence must end immediately,” said ThenmozhiSoundararajan of Equality labs expressing solidarity with the global Sikh community.”

While appreciating the Afghan police for killing the attackers in a standoff lasting hours, the AJA said the attack underscored the challenges of escalating violence will pose in Afghanistan with uncertain times likely to follow the withdrawal of U.S. military. The Alliance for Justice and Accountability is an umbrella coalition of various organizations dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, social justice and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

The AJA also underlined that the people of Afghanistan and India share a deep and centuries-old relationship. Not only do Afghanistan’s religious minorities such as Hindus and Sikhs but also Afghan Muslims have deep historical kinship with Indians.

The US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo acknowledged that “Terrorist attacks by ISIS…and al-Qaeda are increasing in the Sahel. “The United States condemns the horrific ISIS-K claimed attack on a Sikh temple and community center in Kabul which took the lives of more than two dozen innocent people. The Afghan people deserve a future free from ISIS-K and other terrorist activity,” Pompeo stated.