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Afghan Sikhs forced to choose between converting to Islam and leaving for India post IS terror attack

Following the devastating terror attack in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad on Sunday which resulted in the deaths of 13 Sikhs, members of the community are now torn between converting to Islam or relocating to India, Reuters has reported.

As reported by Times of India, the terror attack was aimed at the minority Sikhs and Hindus and caused the deaths of 17 members of the communities, including the sole Sikh candidate for upcoming parliamentary elections – Avtar Singh. The responsibility for this attack was taken by the Islamic State.

Following the attack, the Sikh community has expressed concern about their well being. Demography wise, there used to be about 2.5 lakh Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan before 1990. Now there are believed to be just 300 Sikh families in the country.

As per Tejvir Singh whose uncle died in the attack, it has become clear that he and his fellow community members cannot live there anymore. As per him, even though the government recognises them, they are targeted for being non-Muslims. He also added that Islamic terrorists won’t tolerate their religious practices.

Another Sikh named Baldev Singh even went on to state that only two options were left for them, “leave for India or convert to Islam”.

Following the attack, many Sikhs have also sought refuge in the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad, with the Indian authorities obliging them with an open invitation to stay as long as they want.

As per an Economic Times report, Vinay Kumar – Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan has stated that India has helped to organise the last rites of the slain Sikhs. The report also claims that India has issued long-term visas to Sikh and Hindus enabling them to stay in India for a long time.

Despite the impending threat and India’s invitation, some Sikhs are adamant that would not leave and called Afghanistan their country.

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