Karzai assures equal rights to Hindu, Sikh minorities
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday directed the officials concerned to investigate problems being faced by Hindu and Sikh communities, saying the minorities had equal rights under the constitution.
The presidential directives came as representatives of Hindu and Sikh communities called on the president at the Presidential Palace, a statement issued from the palace said.
The minority leaders presented their demands to Karzai and briefed him on problems facing the two communities.
Meshrano Jirga member Dr. Anar Kali Hunaryar and Royal Singh spoke on behalf of the Hindu and Sikh people. They commended the government’s efforts at developing the country over the past one decade.
They urged the president to help the minorities regain their properties and religious sites usurped by powerful individuals.
They also called for religious and worship places of Hindus and Sikhs to be exempted from electricity bills and land plots for building homes distributed to them.
He said the minorities had equal rights and their sacrifices spoke of their patriotism towards Afghanistan.
Karzai directed the acting interior minister, Kabul governor, mayor and others to investigate problems facing Hindus and Sikhs and provide their reports to the Cabinet for consideration.
The assurance comes two weeks after the Hindu and Sikh council chief, Royal Singh, told a joint press conference with civil society activists that they would leave Afghanistan if their problems were not resolved and a seat for them not reserved in the Wolesi Jirga.
He said the minorities had not been able over the past 11 years to have a meeting with President Karzai in order to inform him about their problems.
He said a number of Hindu and Sikh families had migrated to foreign countries due to the ongoing conflict and only 800 families remained in Kabul, Nangarhar, Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Kunduz and Balkh provinces.
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