Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Reactions to Collective Transfer of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs

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Reactions to Collective Transfer of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs

After the July deadly  attacks on Hindu and Sikhs in the Nangarhar province which left 19 people dead and dozens wounded, the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) have advocated the Canadian government to recognize Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan as vulnerable minorities and develop an appropriate plan to directly evacuate them to Canada. Following this, The Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Ahmed Hussen, as quoted, said on Tuesday that the Canadian government is working on a plan to approve private sponsorship and resettlement of Sikh and Hindu citizens of Afghanistan who have fled the country due to religious persecution. The offer has had different social reactions in Afghanistan, especially in social media networks.
The Afghan Hindus and Sikhs thanked and welcomed the offer but complained about inability of Afghan government in securing their rights and freedoms. Nirindar Seng Khalisa, the only Hindus and Sikhs candidate for the House of Representatives in Afghanistan, said that the government of Afghanistan has not given any rights to Hindus and Sikh citizens in the last few years. Mr. Khalisa adds that if the government gave their rights and living facilities, they would not compel to abandon their homeland. Khalesa says that the rights which are considered for other Afghan citizens are not considered for them. He stress that they have repeatedly asked the government for the acquisition of property, but no attention has been paid. “We understand that there is war in Afghanistan, but if our rights are given, we will never leave our homeland,” he summed up.
It seems that life has been increasingly hard for them in the few last years. They have repeatedly complained about the bad behavior of citizens in the city and in schools with their children. Mr. Khalisa says, “They have encountered a lot of problems during the burning of the corps bodies. Three days ago, when they wanted to burn one of their corps body at its place, the people threw them stones and prevented them from running the ceremony, he says. With these conditions how we can stay in Afghanistan?  What’s left for us, our honor and dignity and our land was usurped. It’s good to seek refuge in another country, “he says.
Sikhs and Hindus are from the religious minorities in Afghanistan. According to official statistics, three decades ago, some 200,000 Hindu and Sikh families lived in Afghanistan, but now, based on the Khalesa’s saying there are about 250 Hindu and Sikh families throughout Afghanistan. Whereas, most of them belong to Sikh people who have no accommodation and living facilities. They live in Kabul, Nangarhar, Ghazni, Qandahar, Herat, Qundoz and Helmand.  Mr. Khanza says that he has been one of the social activists and he would not leave the country until there is a single Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan. He says, I have pledged to my people to remain beside them either inside or outside of Afghanistan. 
After the recent attacks on Sikh candidate in Nangarhar province, the Hindu and Sikh community of Canada wrote a letter to the Afghan consulate in Canada, asking for the security of minorities in Afghanistan. In the mentioned incident, dozens of innocent Sikhs killed and injured. Javad Soltani, a sociologist, says that and ethnic contradictions, has grown more than ever, especially in the era of president Ghani, and now hatreds and social dissatisfaction are appeared in one or other way.  Mr. Soltani said: “The current conditions for minorities are the conditions for death and life, their life is in danger. We must give them the right to seek the ways for their survival. “Mr. Soltani continues that collective moving of Hindus and Sikhs from the country is a great shame for all of us.
Naeem Nazari, a civil activist, says that Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan are leaving Afghanistan because of inevitability. Mr. Nazari adds that the governments of Afghanistan and a number of citizens have so far neglected the religious rights and freedoms of Hindus and Sikhs. Mr. Nazari continued that leaving of Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan could be a disgrace to the people and the government of Afghanistan. He says that it is a painful situation as they are forced to leave the country and if we look realistically there is no chance for religious freedom and citizenship to these minorities in Afghanistan.
Thus, a number of social media network users also reacted to the matter. Some expressed that they are happy because their peaceful compatriots are reaching human rights and better facilities. Others say that they do not know whether they are happy or upset. Qanbar Ali Tabish, a university professor wrote in his face-book “this news made me happy and also upset. This made me happy because they will not be humiliated because of their race and religion and will not be victimized by terrorist attacks any more. No one will bother their children in schools and streets. I am also upset because a group of peaceful people are compelled to move because of our behavior.”
Nabi Sultani, another face-book user, wrote: “I am happy from the plan for moving the Afghan Hindus and Sikh citizens. We were not good compatriots and we will never be in the future.  Let them go; they can have better life and facilities in Canada.” Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Deputy to the President’s Spokesperson. says, “according to the law the citizens can obtain the citizenship of other countries. Anyone can choose to gain the citizenship of a second country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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