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Murder of Avtar Singh kills final hopes for Hindu-Sikh representation in Afghanistan

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    Jalalabad, July 3: The Islamic State was quick to claim responsibility for the deadly bombing in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in which prominent members of the Sikh and Hindu community lost their lives.

    Avtar Singh

    While there was plenty of confusion as to who carried out the attack, going by the style of the strike, it became clear that it could have been the handiwork of the ISIS. Both the ISIS and Taliban have been given a specific brief by the ISI to target Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities. The only intention is to create an Islamic State of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The Sunday bombing is particularly significant considering it also claimed the life of Avtar Singh Khalsa, a leader of both the Hindu and Sikh community. He would have been elected to Parliament and this would have raised the hopes of both the Hindus and Sikhs who have been losing their tribe consistently ever since the civil war broke out.

    The killing of Khalsa erased that one last hope for both Hindus and Sikhs who would have hoped for a representation in the Afghan Parliament. Khalsa was set to contest the
    Parliamentary elections slated for October. Khalsa would have been elected unopposed to the Lower House as the seat he was planning to contest was apportioned to the minority by a Presidential decree in 2016.

    The Hindus and Sikhs were once a vibrant community in Afghanistan. However over the years they have been targeted and suffered persecution. Only a handful of families remain in Afghanistan and this latest killing would ensure that the number comes down further.

    Officials say that the ethnic cleansing of both Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Afghanistan is rampant. They have been regularly targeted by Islamic extremists. The fact that the number of Sikhs and Hindus has gone down from 80,000 in the 1990s to a mere 1,000 today is proof of the ethnic cleansing that has taken place unabated.

    The case is similar in Pakistan as well. The minority Hindus and Sikhs have been forced to convert failing which they would be killed. The orders to convert do not just come from the radicals, but officials as well. In a case that was reported in the Hangu district, it was found that the orders to convert came from none other than the Assistant Commissioner.

    Such is the extremism that prevails, the number of non-Muslims has come down from 23 per cent in 1947 to 3 per cent in the current year.

    Pakistan was originally conceived with the idea of providing a home for the South Asian Muslims. However over the years, Pakistan has steadily emerged as an Islamic State.

    The idea is to make it a 100 per cent Muslim state and in a bid to do so, the ISI wants to wipe out all non-Muslims. The regime is so rigid that the the Ahmadis were declared as non-Muslims by the writ of the state.

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