Afghanistan’s Sikh in disarray after deadly attack

Community lost 13 members, including key leaders to a Daesh attack on Sunday
KABUL, Afghanistan: A devastated Sikh and Hindu minority in Afghanistan laid to rest on Monday 13 bodies, including those of their key leaders, following Sunday’s deadly attack.
At least 18 people were killed in a suicide car bombing in eastern Jalalabad city during a visit by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The community’s only candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary elections Avtar Singh Khalsa and prominent activist Rawail Singh were among those killed in the attack claimed by Daesh.
There were tragic scenes in downtown Jalalabad where mourners were joined by the local Muslim population for condolences and prayers. Some grievers also burst out in anger against the government.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, members of the Sikh community said they felt heartbroken and dejected.
Guljeet Singh, spokesman for the community at the central temple in Jalalabad city, said the community would organize communal prayers for the deceased on Tuesday.
“We lost those leaders who were struggling for our destiny and for the rights of the future generations in Afghanistan,” Singh said.
Out of some 200 families of the community living in Afghanistan, close to half are residing in Jalalabad.
Jalalabad resident Tajmiat Singh who lost immediate family members in the attack, said the failure of the security forces in stopping this carnage is saddening. “The president [Mohammad Ashraf Ghani] had invited our community leaders for the meeting. Why did security forces not ensure security?” he said.
Ghani said Afghanistan mourns the deaths of the Sikh community. “Our hearts are broken for the families of our fellow Afghans who were lost in the Jalalabad attack. I am saddened at the loss of our proud and resilient Sikh Afghans,” the president, who is on a two-day trip to Jalalabad, said in a statement.
Based on a decree issued by Ghani in 2016, a seat has been reserved for minorities in the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) and Khalsa was scheduled to run unopposed for this seat.
In a condolence meeting, the Afghan civil society called upon the Kabul government to extend the deadline for the Sikh community to nominate a replacement candidate for the parliamentary elections due in October.–AA

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