GHAZNI (SW) – Hundreds of Sikh and Hindu families of Ghazni have fled the province amid raging in security.
Members of this ethnic and religious minority, who lived in Ghazni city and a number of districts for decades, were mostly engaged in trade and sale of traditional medicine. Hindus and Sikhs have five temples in Ghazni, and they own agricultural land and residential houses, some of which they have sold.
In the Sikh temple in Ghazni, where hundreds of Sikh citizens used to perform their religious rituals in previous years, only a small number of them now attend the gatherings. Amid surging insecurity following brief fall of Ghazni to the Taliban, most of them left the province.
Surbi Singh, who lived in Ghazni for many years, has bitter as well as sweet memories of his fellow Muslims. He told Salam Watandar that until a few years ago, the Sikh population in the province was around 500 people, but now only 100 of them remain in the province.
He cited economic problems and lack of security as the reasons for the migration of Sikhs and Hindus from Ghazni.
Singh called the targeting of Sikhs in Kabul and Jalalabad as subversive and called on the government to pay attention to protecting their lives, property and places of worship.
Sikh teenagers, who are never seen in the public places, were cooking in the corner of this ancient temple. They were telling stories to each other and laughing.
Rajabid Singh, one of the teenagers, said that his dream is to study, work and live a safe and quiet life in Afghanistan, but that all remains elusive. He said that if insecurities continued, they will have to end their thousands of years of presence in Afghanistan with tears in their eyes and a heavy heart.
Sikh and Hindu children said they have also experienced discrimination and harassment on the streets and at school.
It is worth mentioning that Afghan Sikhs and Hindus had sent a letter to the Indian Embassy in Kabul demanding their immediate departure from Afghanistan after the deadly attack in Kabul. About 700 Sikhs and Hindus sent this letter, saying they were no longer willing to live in Afghanistan.