Taliban reportedly stopped a group of 60 Afghan Sikhs from taking their religious scripture Guru Granth Sahib with them during their scheduled departure to India on September 11, citing it to be a heritage of Afghanistan.
The move drew condemnation from the chief of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which oversees the management of gurdwaras in India, asking the Taliban not to interfere in the religious affairs of the Sikhs.
“On one side, attacks are taking place on Sikhs and their holy Gurdwara Sahibs, and on the other, they are being stopped from coming to India with holy saroops of Guru Granth Sahib”, Harjinder Singh Dhami said on Wednesday in a statement.
He pointed out that the minority Afghan Sikhs are being forced to leave their home country as they have been facing persecution.
“It is a matter of concern that if Sikhs do not stay in Afghanistan, who will take care of Guru Granth Sahib, and Gurdwara Sahibs there? It is this reason that the Sikhs while coming to India are bringing along holy Guru Granth Sahib,” said Advocate Dhami.
He said that the Taliban government should not take decisions that might hurt the sentiments of Sikhs.
Once numbering between 200,000 and 500,000 (1.8% to 4.6% of the national population) in the 1970s, their population has dwindled since the Afghan wars began. Till 2020, there were about 700 Sikhs and Hindus, but they also started to leave after the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, 2020.
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