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Memorial service organised for Sikhs and Hindus

Memorial service organised for Sikhs and Hindus

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Jul 17, 2018 - 13:09

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok) The Afghan ambassador to the US, held a memorial service for the Hindus and Sikhs killed in the July 1 terrorist attack in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

Organised in association with the Hindu American Foundation and Afghan-Hindu Association, the event was attended by members of the community in and around Washington DC.

“This occasion is one that brings us together to recognise a community that has deep roots in Afghanistaninfo-icon. Many think of the minority Hindus and Sikhs as migrants from India,” the envoy said.

But in reality, Hamdullah Mohib added, the Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan were the original residents of the war-hit Central Asian country.

Sena Lund, president of the New York-based Afghan Hindu Association, recited the names of the 18 slain Sikh and Hindu leaders.

Asha Kapoor of the local Asamai Hindu Mandir delivered a speech in Dari, the official language of Afghanistan, to commemorate the victims.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, in a statement read out on the occasion, said the brutal attack was yet another example of the fear, bigotry and hatred that sadly existed in the worldinfo-icon.

“During the Talibaninfo-icon regime, Hindus and Sikhs were forced to wear yellow patches to identify themselves in public, furthering extreme prejudice, and eventually forcing many to seek asylum in India,” she said.

“These fear tactics and attacks attempt to divide us, but we cannot give into this hate. We must confront hatred with love, fear with understanding and darkness with light.

“We must continue to stand up to bigotry and hatred in Afghanistan, here at home, and around the world,” Gabbard added.

The loss of the community leaders was a terrible blow, not only to Afghanistan, but also to the international community, said Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.

“The Sikh and Hindu communities have a long and distinguished heritage, and this horrific attack will not diminish that.

“Our office will continue to monitor the conditions faced by religious minorities in Afghanistan. I stand with you and will work toward an Afghanistan that is peaceful and secure for all its people,” he said.

Puneet Kundal, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy here, expressed condolences for the loss of life.

“The very fact that you are organizing this event here today is a representation of the sentiments that the government of Afghanistan feels for these communities,” he said.

A packed hall of mourners from the Hindu and Sikh communities sat alongside officials from the Afghan and Indian embassies and the State Department facing a mural depicting the ancient relics of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

“We at the Hindu American Foundation pledge to be with you every step of the way as Hindu and Sikhs seek full enfranchisement in Afghan societyinfo-icon,” said Jay Kansara, of the Hindu American Foundation.

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