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Hindus, Sikhs warn of leaving Afghanistan

31 Jul 2013 - 16:34
31 Jul 2013 - 16:34

KABUL on Wednesday warned of leaving the country if they were not given proper representation in the lower house of parliament.

Flanked by civil society representatives, Rail Singh, the council’s deputy head, asked the government to take effective measures to address the problems being faced by the minorities.

In the original draft election law, a seat had been reserved for the Hindus and Sikh, he told a news conference. But the parliament deleted the clause, he regretted.   

“We are very much concerned about the abolition of the reserved seat,” remarked Singh, whose community has no representation in parliament. No parliamentarian bothered to discuss the problems being faced by the minority, he deplored.

Sikhs and Hindus could not win a single Wolesi Jirga because their numbers were very small, he said, adding most of their families had left Afghanistan as a result of infighting in the country.

Singh explained 800 of his community families still lived in Kabul, Kandahar, Ghazni, Helmand, Nangarhar, Kunduz and Balkh provinces.

Over the last couple of years, Hindus and Sikhs had been deprived of their properties and homes by powerful individuals, he alleged. Their kids could neither play on streets nor go to school because of harassment by other children, he complained.  

He said both Hindus and Sikhs had approached various departments and officials to have their problems resolved but no one addressed their concerns.

 “If our demands are not accepted, we will be forced to write to the United Nations to provide us asylum in a foreign country,” Singh announced.

Ajmal Baloch, a member of civil society, asked the state to take steps to set aside a seat for the minorities in the Wolesi Jirga. He said Hindus and Sikhs had equally contributed to the strength of Afghanistan.

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