US bill seeks to resettle Afghan Sikhs, Hindus

US bill seeks to resettle Afghan Sikhs, Hindus
The resolution says that deadly attacks on Sikhs and Hindus follow 'a greater pattern' of targeted violence against religious minorities in Afghanistan.
2 min read
19 August, 2020
In March, an Islamic State gunman stormed a Gurdwara in Kabul, killing 25 [Getty]
A bill introduced to US congress last week aims to resettle Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh minority, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

The resolution, submitted by Democrat congresswoman Jackie Speiers and co-sponsored by 10 others, condemned "targeted terrorist attacks" against Sikhs and Hindus in the war-torn country. 

The bill notes that numbers of the community are dwindling.  While estimates of their size vary, only 700 now remain inside the country down from 8000 in recent years.  

Members of the religious minorities face "systematic religious persecution, discrimination and existential danger", the resolution adds.

Rituals such as cremation have been a flashpoint of contention in the near-exclusive Muslim country.

In the days of the Taliban, the practice was outlawed, and cremation grounds vandalised. Sikhs and Hindus were forced to yellow patches or veils to identify themselves.

The resolution, which supports resettlement of members of both communities under the US Refugee Admission Programme, say that more recent attacks follow "a greater pattern of targeted violence against Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious minorities in Afghanistan".

In March, a lone Islamic State group gunman stormed a Sikh house of worship in Kabul, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight.

The gunman held worshipers hostage for several hours as Afghan special forces, aided by international troops, attempted to clear the building.

At least 80 members of the community were rescued from the inside the Sikh house of worship, known as a Gurdwara, as the gunman lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately into the crowd.

In July 2018, IS militants claimed a suicide bombing in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, which took the lives of 19 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including some of the groups' senior leadership.

Read also: Bahraini woman arrested for smashing Hindu statues

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