Armed men storm Kabul gurdwara, damage property

An Afghan Sikh told The Indian Express that the intruders vandalised the office inside gurdwara premises and smashed at least ten CCTV cameras. They also overpowered two security guards.

A group of armed men allegedly stormed inside Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Sabha in Karte Parwan of Kabul on Tuesday evening and vandalised the premises.

While local Afghan Sikhs suspected that they were Taliban fighters, a probe was later launched to identify the intruders after some Taliban officials also reached the gurdwara to meet Sikh community leaders.

An Afghan Sikh told The Indian Express that the intruders vandalised the office inside gurdwara premises and smashed at least ten CCTV cameras. They also overpowered two security guards.

“None from Sikh sangat was present inside gurdwara when the intrusion happened. On Tuesdays, the Sikh community visits local temple to participate in prayers with a few Hindus who are left here,” he said.
“Just one Sikh, Satnam Singh, was present inside gurdwara. He thought they were Taliban fighters, but later Taliban officials denied this and said that they were not their men. But it is doubtful because they came in same vehicle as used by the Taliban. They did not harm Satnam Singh and just kept searching inside gurdwara. We don’t know what they were looking for. Taliban has assured us that they will identify them,” said another member of Afghan Sikh community.

This is the first such intrusion inside a gurdwara since Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 this year.
Last year, at least 25 members of Sikh community were killed when an Islamic State gunman had stormed Gurdwara Gur Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and opened fire.

Puneet Singh Chandhok, president, Indian World Forum, said: “They not only abused the sanctity of holy place but also vandalised it. We request PM Narendra Modi to intervene immediately to ensure safety of our Sikh and Hindu brethren still left behind in Afghanistan.”

Vikramjit Singh Sahney, president, World Punjabi Organisation, said that nearly 180 Sikhs and Hindus are still left in Afghanistan and India’s Ministry of External Affairs should take this up immediately with its counterparts and the United Nations, to ensure their safe evacuation.

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