7/3/2018 2:29:37 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
Many among Afghanistan’s dwindling Sikh minority are thinking of moving to India after a suicide bombing in the eastern city of Jalalabad on July 1.
At least 13 Sikhs were killed, including Avtar Singh Khalsa, the only Sikh candidate in parliamentary elections due to be held in October, reports Reuters.
The militant group Islamic State claimed to have carried out the attack.
“We are left with two choices: to leave for India or to convert to Islam,” Baldev Singh, who owns a book- and textile shop in Jalalabad, told Reuters.
Sikhs cannot live in Aghanistan any more, agreed Tejvir Singh, 35, the secretary of a national panel of Hindus and Sikhs, whose uncle was killed in the bombing.
Fewer than 300 Sikh families are left in Afghanistan, which has only two gurdwaras, one each in Jalalabad and Kabul, the capital, he said.
Afghanistan was home to 250,000 Sikhs and Hindus before a bloody civil war in the 1990s.
Following the Jalalabad attack, some Sikhs have sought shelter at the city’s Indian consulate.
India has issued long-term visas to members of Afghanistan’s Sikh and Hindu communities.
They can live in India, said Vinay Kumar, India’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
But other Sikhs, with land or businesses and no ties to India, say they do not plan to leave.
“Afghanistan is our country and we are not leaving anywhere,” Sandeep Singh, a Sikh shopkeeper in Kabul, told Reuters.