US envoy raises concern about attacks against Hindus, Sikhs in Afghanistan

Kabul: US Special Envoy Rina Amiri has raised concerns about the escalating attacks against Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, Islamic State attacked Karte Parwan Gurdwara in which two people were killed and several others got injured. Gunmen had tried to storm the temple on Saturday morning and all were killed after a standoff that lasted several hours.

“Deeply concerned about the escalating attacks against Afghanistan’s Hindus & Sikhs. Afghanistan’s rich diversity is its greatest treasure. A threat against one group is a threat to the identity of Afghanistan as a whole,” Amiri tweeted.

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India had expressed deep concern at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city. “We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement on June 18.

India on Monday condemned in the strongest terms the recent “cowardly attack” at the Sikh temple in Kabul, Afghanistan and said it’s time that the UN Member States condemned hatred against non-Abrahamic religions as well.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), India’s Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador TS Tirumurti raised concerns about the “selective” efforts to combat religiophobias.

“And on 18th June, a couple of days ago and on the very day we commemorated the International Day for countering hate speech, we saw yet another tragic example of this against Sikh religion, this time in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Gurudwara Karte Parwan was attacked, desecrated and damaged. We condemn in the strongest terms this cowardly dastardly attack where lives were tragically lost,” said Tirumurti at the informal High-Level Meeting to mark the commemoration of the first International Day for Countering Hate Speech.

“It’s time that UN Member States condemned hatred against non-Abrahamic religions as well and stop from being selective in combating religiophobias. There cannot be double standards on religiophobias if you truly want to combat hate,” he added. The Indian envoy said hate speech is the antithesis of peace, tolerance and harmony.

“Unfortunately, we continue to witness a rising trend in hate speech. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. India joined 12 other countries to issue a cross-regional statement on ‘infodemic’ in June 2020.”

He said India has time and again emphasised that combating religiophobia can never succeed if it continues to be exclusionary and remains restricted to one or two religions only, while completely ignoring the rise in hatred and discrimination against non-Abrahamic religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.

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