The Jalalabad suicide attack has put the spotlight back on Afghanistan’s struggling Hindu and Sikh communities.
The Jalalabad suicide attack has put the spotlight back on Afghanistan’s struggling Hindu and Sikh communities.(Photo: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)
  • 1. Life for Afghanistan's Religious Minorities Under Extremists
  • 2. How Are Sikhs and Hindus Treated in Afghanistan Now?
  • 3. Anger After Jalalabad
Yellow Armbands to Suicide Bomb: The Fate of Afghan Sikhs & Hindus

From 220,000 in the late 1980s to around 1,000 out of a population of a little over 30 million today, Afghanistan’s Sikh and Hindu community has eroded to almost nothing, according to TOLONews’ data. That’s a drop from 1.91 percent to 0.02 percent of the population in just 2-3 decades.

But in a move that was widely hailed in the country as a welcome step for religious minorities, Sikh leader Avtar Singh Khalsa was slated to run unopposed to a lower house seat in October 2018. The seat was designated for the Hindu and Sikh minorities by Presidential decree in 2016.

Sadly, Khalsa was cut down before he could fulfil that role, in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad on 1 July 2018, in which he along with 19 other members of the Hindu and Sikh community – including prominent civil rights activist Rawail Singh – were killed in a targeted attack, claimed by ISIS, for being polytheists, AP reports. They were on their way to meet Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

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