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Sikh News Brief History of Afghan Sikhs

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Vikram singh, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Vikram singh

    Vikram singh
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    SPNer Contributor

    Feb 25, 2005
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    By Jagmit Singh Kabul, Afghanistan – The recent beheading of Sikhs by the Taliban in Peshawar, bordering Afghanistan, has reminded the community of the hardships they face on both side of the Pakistan, Afghanistan border today. Two Sikhs men were reportedly beheaded by the Taliban in the FATA region of Pakistan, with their heads later being dropped at a gurdwara in Peshawar. Still, reports suggest that other Sikhs are under hostage.

    Last year the Pakistani Taliban militants had taken over shops and homes of Sikh families in the Orakzai Agency, while making demand for ransom. This year’s incidents are repeated attacks from last year, with threats to the Sikh community to convert, if they want to continuing living in Peshawar or even living at all.


    Afghan Sikhs sit around the coffin of community elder Lachman Singh during a protest in Kabul September 17, 2007. Around 100 angry Afghan Sikhs carried a coffin to the United Nations headquarters in Kabul on Monday, accusing Muslims of stopping them cremating the dead man.

    The Sikhs have been living in this region of Peshawar for a long time, historically. India is acclaimed as Sikh’s homeland while they were settling in Afghanistan over phases of its history, especially in the early nineteenth century when the Afghans lost Peshawar to the Sikhs.
    Over the last few centuries, descendents of Sikhs traders have settled in Afghanistan starting in Sindh and Punjab through Kandahar, Jalalabad, as well as Kabul. The trade routes created through these settlements, went across the Hindu Kush to Samarkand, Merv and into Europe.
    During the partition of India, a late migration occurred when many Sikhs living in Pakistan, near the Afghan border found it easier to find refuge in Afghanistan rather than taking a risk to travel across the country to go to India.
    This new group of Sikh refugees made Afghanistan their home and they are known as the Afghan Sikhs who formed a more ethnically diverse Afghanistan. Just as they came in during different times in history, the Sikhs also left in different phases—out of the country.
    Some left during the Soviet War, dying on their way because of the bombings of the war. The displacement caused by the war made many travel to India to find a temporary place to live but it turned out to not be temporary after all.
    When they returned home shortly, their homes were taken over by warlords and their businesses were all destroyed. Years of the Sikhs hard work had shattered.
    The Afghan Hindus and Sikhs were over 50, 000 in total before 1992 in areas like Ghazni, Jalalabad, Khandahar, Khost, Kabul and Laghman. Today there are only about 1500 Sikhs living, mostly in Kabul. The only ones that remained in Afghanistan are the ones who had no relative abroad or not enough resources to migrate somewhere else.
    After 2001, many Sikhs have had serious problems and been denied freedom to practice their culture and rituals within the Afghanistan borders. An attempt to cremate a Sikh body in Kabul led to tensions between the local communities as the cremation was seen as going against beliefs of Islam—the majority religion practiced now in Afghanistan.

    More about History of Afghanistan History of Afghanistan
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