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Taliban removes Sikh religious flag from historic gurdwara in Afghanistan, India condemns the incident

As the Taliban expands its control over Afghanistan, it has started to enforce fundamental Islamic rules in the war-torn country. After enforcing rules like no smoking, no shaving, restrictions on women etc in the country, now the terror group have also started attacking religious places of minorities. As part of this, the Islamic extremists associated with the Taliban forcibly removed the holy Sikh flag Nishan Sahib from the Thala Shri Guru Nanak Sahib Gurdwara. The incident took place in Chamkani in the Paktia province of Afghanistan a few days ago.

As per reports, the Taliban forced the gurdwara caretaker to dislodge the Sikh flag from its original position. Hailed as an identity of Sikhism and Sikh pride, the Nishan Sahib was then tied to a tree within the gurdwara premises. This was done to ensure that the flag is not visible from a far-off distance. The Hindu reported that the matter was confirmed by a local resident named Charan Singh. He recounted that the caretaker was initially intimidated and was later forced to remove it from the rightful place.

While speaking about the matter, The Hindu reported that the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen dismissed the accusations. He claimed, “Sikhs and the Hindu community have been living in Paktia for centuries. We are committed to their rights and they can lead their normal life like any Afghan.” The incident comes amidst the forceful takeover of Afghan territories by the Taliban.

Govt of India condemns the incident

According to reports, the Indian government has condemned the reported removal of a Sikh religious flag atop the roof of the Gurdwara in Paktia province of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

“We have seen media reports on Nishan Sahib, a Sikh religious flag, having been removed atop the roof of Gurdwara Thala Sahib, Chamkani in Paktia province of Afghanistan. We condemn this act and reiterate India’s firm belief that Afghanistan’s future must be the one where the interests of all sections of the Afghan society, including minorities and women, are protected,” a statement by a govt spokesperson said, as per sources.

Abduction and past attacks on Gurdwaras

The Paktia Gurdwara is of immense significance to the Sikh community as it is believed that the site was visited by Guru Nanak himself. The gurdwara is maintained by the local Sikh and Hindu communities. It must be mentioned that a Sikh man by the name of Nidan Singh Sachdeva was kidnapped by Taliban from the vicinity of the gurdwara in July last year. He was only released after the tremendous efforts of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Afghan government.

On 25th March last year, 25 people were killed and 15 injured in a heinous attack on Gurudwara in the Shor Bazar area in Kabul. About 150 people were also held hostage. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) which is an arm of Islamic State (IS) in Pakistan and Afghanistan was behind the attack. Indian Intelligence hinted additional role of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani Network in the attack.

 

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