Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Two killed in firing by armed gunmen at Kabul gurdwara; India condemned the attack

On Saturday, a group of unidentified gunmen stormed a gurdwara in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing two people. The deceased have been identified as 60-year-old Savinder Singh, a native of Ghazni, whose family lives in Delhi, and Ahmed, who was a security guard at the gurdwara.

Gurnam Singh, president of Gurdwara Dashmesh father Guru Gobind Singh Karta Parwan, confirmed the attack to The Indian Express. “Guns opened fire in the gurdwara. We are on the other side of the building right now. Some people are feared dead, but the details will be clear only when we go inside,” he said.

Singh said there were at least 20-25 people from the Sikh community inside the gurdwara when the attack took place.

Speaking about the attack, Punjab Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Sawhney said: Indian Express: “The gunmen who attacked the Kabul gurdwara are probably from the Taliban’s rival Daesh group. Taliban fighters have reached the spot and fighting is on between them. The Gurdwara has been damaged and 4 Sikhs are missing.”

Meanwhile, India expressed concern over the attacks on the gurdwara in Kabul on Saturday and said it was monitoring the situation closely. Responding to questions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We are deeply concerned by reports of an attack on a holy gurudwara in that city from Kabul.”

“We are monitoring the situation closely and await more information on further developments,” he said.

Condemning the attack, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, “The cowardly attack on Gurdwara Karta Parwan must be condemned in the strongest terms.

“We are closely monitoring the developments since we got the news of the attack,” he said. Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community,” he said.

Speaking against the attack, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted: “Heard reports of shots fired at devotees, praying for everyone’s safety. I urge PM @narendramodi ji and @MEAIndia for immediate assistance to ensure the safety of minorities in Kabul.

Gurdwara Karte Parwan is the central gurdwara of the Sikh community in Kabul.

At least 150 Afghan Sikhs are still trapped in the country since the takeover by the Taliban. They have been seeking visa from India for the past few months.

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Last October, a few months after the Taliban came to power, unidentified gunmen had stormed the Gurdwara Karte Parwan and vandalized property. Since then, Afghan Sikhs have been appealing for India to be saved. On March 25, 2020, a group of ISIS gunmen killed at least 25 people from the Sikh community after setting fire to Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib in Kabul. Earlier, in 2018, a suicide bomber in Jalalabad killed at least 19 Sikhs and Hindus, including Avtar Singh Khalsa, father of former Sikh MP Narinder Singh Khalsa. At that time Avtar was running for parliamentary elections in Afghanistan.

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