Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 23
Describing Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan as "proud citizenry" of his land, the Afghanistan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar on Tuesday said that it would be the responsibility of the government to provide them with protection and security.
"We got to do that", he said during a press conference here.
Disagreeing with the perception of Hindus and Sikhs being "especially" targetted in Afghanistan, Atmar said: "The violence against Afghans, unfortunately, did not spare our minorities either. So, it is not a kind of persecution against specific minorities per se. It’s the general violence against the entire nation and unfortunately, this part of the population has been disproportionately affected".
Last July, India had said it would facilitate a settlement of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan.
There are about 1,000 Sikh and Hindus left in Afghanistan, and the sense of insecurity was heightened after the massacre in Gurudwara Guru Har Rai, Kabul, in May last year, followed by the kidnapping of a Sikh Nidan Singh Sachdeva.
"They are citizens of Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is proud of them. It has been like, that for centuries, and will be like that. It is the responsibility of not just the Afghan government, but the Afghan people too to protect their federal brothers,’’ he declared.
Soon after the May 15, 2020, massacre at the Kabul Gurdwara, Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee Joe Biden had promised to raise the annual global refugee admissions cap to 1.25 lakhs if he won the November US Presidential elections.
Implicit was the assurance that some quotas would be for Afghanistan’s embattled Sikh community.
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