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Sikhs protest overJalalabad attack near Afghan embassy

Sikhs protest overJalalabad attack near Afghan embassy
Highlights

Sikh community members on Tuesday protested near the Afghan embassy in Lutyens\' Delhi against the suicide attack claimed by Islamic State in Jalalabad city on Sunday in which 19 people, mostly Sikhs and Hindus, were killed. 

New Delhi: Sikh community members on Tuesday protested near the Afghan embassy in Lutyens' Delhi against the suicide attack claimed by Islamic State in Jalalabad city on Sunday in which 19 people, mostly Sikhs and Hindus, were killed.

The protesters included Shiromani Akali Dal MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Prem Singh Chandumajra and BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa. Sikh groups from Punjab and Haryana were also part of the protest.

Following the protest, representatives from the Afghan embassy met the protesters and condemned the suicide attack. Manjit Singh GK, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, demanded an inquiry into the attack.

"There's never been such an attack targeting Sikhs in the past 30 years in Afghanistan. We need to know who is behind this attack? Is it the Taliban, IS or Pakistan?" he said.

Both Indian and Afghanistan governments must give compensation to the families of the victims, Singh said. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have given Rs one lakh as compensation to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured, he said.

Singh said the Afghan embassy officials said not only Hindus and Sikhs but even Muslims were being killed in the war-torn country every day. "We have asked for a high-level delegation to visit the spot. Security of our people is a concern. They must feel safe. Temples and gurdwaras must be secured," he added.

A group of Sikhs on Monday met External Affairs Minister Sushwa Swaraj and submitted a memorandum seeking an inquiry into the killing of Sikhs and Hindus in the terrorist attack. One of the protesters, Bhadvan Singh, is an Afghan Sikh living in New Delhi for 25 years on a temporary visa. He has applied for Indian citizenship but has not been granted yet.

He has to renew his visa every two years. "I shifted from Afghanistan three years ago. I did not feel safe there. Many of my relatives still live there. Things are quite disturbing in Afghanistan. We face a lot of difficulties because of our minority status," he said.

Among the protesters was Jagmohan, a nephew of Avtar Singh Khalsa, a long-time Sikh leader in Afghanistan who had planned to run in the parliamentary elections set for October but was killed in the suicide attack.

S Khurana, another protester, said: "I was born and brought up in Afghanistan. I did not feel safe there so I decided to shift here. Fortunately, I got Indian citizenship. It took me five years. But I know so many who still have not got one. It is a tedious process."

An IS suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus on their way to meet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Reports said 19 people were killed in the attack and 17 of them were from the minority Sikh and Hindu communities.

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