‘Positive Development’: MEA On Reports Of Taliban Restoring Property Rights Of Displaced Hindus, Sikhs

1 month ago

Last Updated: April 12, 2024, 17:01 IST

 Reuters File/Representative)

Afghan Hindu and Sikh families pictured waiting for langar inside a gurudwara during a religious ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan in this file photo from 2016. (Image: Reuters File/Representative)

The MEA said if the Taliban administration has decided to restore property to displaced Afghan Hindus and Sikhs then it is a positive development.

The external affairs ministry said it has seen reports of the Taliban Justice Ministry taking steps to restore property to displaced members of the Hindu and Sikh communities and said it is a “positive development”.

“We have seen reports on this issue. If the Taliban Administration has decided to restore property rights to their citizens belonging to Afghan Hindu and Sikh community, we see this as a positive development,” the ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

The news of restoration of properties of displaced members of the Hindu and Sikh communities was first reported by The Hindu, which cited a senior Taliban official.

The report named the official as Suhail Shaheen, head of the political office of the Taliban.

The report said that Taliban has set up a commission to ensure return of Hindu and Sikh families who have played a historic role in the Afghan economy.

“A commission chaired by the Minister of Justice has been established to return to their owners all properties which had been usurped by warlords during the former regime,” Shaheen was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Shaheen also drew attention to the return of Narender Singh Khalsa, a former member of the parliament of Afghanistan. The parliament was dissolved following the terrorist group’s takeover the nation in 2021 following the withdrawal of the American forces.

Many Sikhs and Hindus left Afghanistan following the takeover of Taliban fearing they will be targeted for their faith and beliefs. But Hindus and Sikhs were also targeted by fighters of the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP) who soon after US withdrawal positioned itself as a challenger to the Taliban.

In 2022, it launched a series of ferocious attacks on Hindus and Sikhs, targeting a gurdwara on one occasion, forcing the Sikhs living there to bring the last two ‘swaroops’ of the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib from Kabul to New Delhi in January 2023.

The Hindu and Sikh communities, historically present in Afghanistan, make up about 1% of its population. Their displacement began in the late 1970s and 1980s amidst political upheaval and the Soviet occupation. The rise of the Taliban and ongoing conflict led to further exodus, reducing their numbers drastically.

(with inputs from Abhishek Jha)

Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Shankhyaneel Sarkar is a senior subeditor at News18. He covers international affairs, where he focuses on breaking news to in-depth analyses. He has o

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