Slain Leader Awtar Singh Khalsa a Beacon of Hope for Afghan Sikhs
Awtar Singh Khalsa, the Afghan Sikh leader who was set to represent the minority Hindu-Sikh communities in Parliament, was among the 19 people killed in an alleged suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad on Sunday, 1 July.
Khalsa, who was formerly a representative at the upper house of parliament, was scheduled to run for a lower house seat in the upcoming parliamentary elections in October.
According to AP, he was to have run unopposed on a seat demarcated for the Sikh and Hindu community through a presidential order passed in 2016. In an interview with AP, Khalsa had said that although he represented the minority, he would work for the peace of all Afghans across the country.
In his interview with AP, Khalsa said:
According to local reports, Khalsa was en route as part of a Hindu-Sikh convoy to meet Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, when the seemingly targeted attack took place.
The Indian Express reported that Khalsa, who headed the Afghan Sikh and Hindu Council, had been allotted a party symbol on Saturday, 30 June, for the elections.
Speaking to the daily, an Afghan official said that Khalsa had been invited by the President for a meeting in Jalalabad, and had travelled from Kabul for it. He had also reportedly kickstarted his campaign on Sunday.
Khalsa's son, Narinder Singh Khlsa, is also reported to have been injured in the attack. Khalsa is survived by his wife and four children.