Kabul: Afghan Sikhs who were to leave for India on September 11 were stopped from taking the Guru Granth Sahib along with them as the religious scriptures were cited to be the heritage of Afghanistan.
Afghan Sikhs started fleeing their home country in the 1990s and it is estimated now there are fewer than 100 left, including this last big group of 60 who are unwilling to leave their country without the four Guru Granth Sahib.
Last year during emergency evacuations conducted by India after the Taliban regime took over, they were able to bring the Guru Granth Sahib. There was no such restrictive protocol in place at that time as the new regime was still stabilizing.
The development caused much concern to the Afghan Sikh community members in India. Many of those stranded in Afghanistan have families that came to India earlier while they stayed back to care for the gurudwaras. There are an estimated 20,000 Afghan Sikhs in India, most of them in Delhi.
In this backdrop, a concerned SGPC chief took to Twitter to express his concern over the emerging situation. "If the Afghan government actually cares for Sikhs it should ensure security of their life, property and religious shrines, in place of causing harassment to them when they are distressed due to attacks on places of worship gurudwara," Dhami stated adding that it is due to atrocities on minority Afghan Sikhs that they are forced to leave their country. "It is a matter of concern that if Sikhs do not stay in Afghanistan, who will take care of Gurudwara Sahibs?
He urged the government of India, prime minister’s office and the ministry of external affairs to intervene and ensure protection of rights of Sikhs in Afghanistan.