KHOST CITY (PAN if gunmen returned their land and wealth.
Dozens of Hindu families migrated due to the civil war to other countries, where they were facing economic and cultural problems, said Shankar Lal, 55, a resident of the only Hindu village, Prem Nagar, on the eastern edge of Khost.
There is a huge fort of Hindus in the village. In the past, the fort had an attractive building, but now it presents the look of a ruined structure.
“Before the communist coup, 120 Hindu families lived in the fort. The number of families later increased to 1,000, but none of them are currently living in the building,” Lal said.
As soon as the government of President Dr. Najibullah collapsed, land and wealth of Hindu families were looted. The minority people were compelled to leave for India, Pakistan and other countries.
He said their worship place in Khost was destroyed in 1992 when hard-line Hindus in India demolished the Babari Masjid. Now that the situation in Khost has improved, the families want to come back.
Another Hindu, Goji Lal, alleged their families were treated like Afghans by the Indian government. “We are known in India as Afghan refugees and the government there is providing us no facilities.”
He claimed most of Hindu houses and lands had been grabbed by powerful individuals. In the Latko area of Khost City, 187 acres of Hindu land had been grabbed, he maintained.
Goji Lal said that they had been unable even to ask the land-grabbers to return their property. The Hindu urged the Karzai government to help return their lands.
Khost Ulema Shah Mohammad, said grabbing the land of Hindus was not only a sheer violation of human rights, but it was also against the teachings of Islam.
He said it was the duty of the government to return Hindus their lands and bring back their families to Khost. All religious scholars in the province would defend the rights of the minority, Mohammad promised.
Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi acknowledged Hindus had the same rights as Afghans and no one would be allowed to plunder their belongings. If the Hindus produced land ownership documents, the government would take action against the grabbers.
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