AFGHANISTAN. Kabul. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani ordered that a day will be included in the national calendar called the ‘National Cultural Day of Afghan Hindu and Sikhs’ and that a section called the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs Research Center to be established at the Kushani Research Center at the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan, the deputy spokesman of Afghan president Amir Kalantar said.
The minority community faced various attacks in last few years in Afghanistan. Some of these Hindu Sikh families have migrated to India to seek shelter amid the coronavirus pandemic and growing threat to their lives due to vicious attacks. Recently around 40 families have moved back to their homeland and Afghan government has encouraged their return in their country but also welcomes their participation in reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Dawakhal Menapal, director of the Afghan government media center said the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will work on this. “The President said this in a visit he had with the 40 Afghan Hindu and Sikh families who had recently returned home.”
The decision about the National day of Hindu and Sikh culture will go for the Afghan cabinet approval, and after that, it will be official, he said.
Dr. Anarkarli Kaur Honaryar, Afghan Hindu Sikh representative at the upper house of Afghanistan parliament said in a tweet, ”Based on the President’s order for the Ministry of Social and Labour Affairs a day will be inserted to the national calendar as The National Day of Hindu and Sikh culture.”
“President directed The Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan to establish a center for the Kushan era to conduct research and study on the history of the Hindus and the Sikh of Afghanistan,” Honaryar said.
Out of 5,000 Hindu Sikhs, only 900 of them remained, living mostly in major cities such as Kandahar, Kabul, Herat, Mazar, and another provinces. Afghan Hindi Sikhs are of the minority groups who have lived in Afghanistan for centuries and still live in Afghanistan despite the continued war. In 2016, Tolonews estimated 99% of the Hindu and Sikh population had left Afghanistan during the last 3 decades for reasons of religious discrimination and government neglect, particularly during the Taliban era. The inclusion of dedicated day of Hindu Sikh culture in Afghan calendar could play a key role in gaining the trust of the minority community which is now wiling to come back to their homeland.
Some Afghans also reacted with the decision calling for the government to protect them and support them with aids.
“Afghan Hindu and Sikhs have been of the minorities of this country who suffered a lot. We hope that they all come back home one day, ” Ajmal Sayed Sadat, a social media user said.
In March 2020, ISIS stormed the Hindu Sikh temple in Kabul, which left 25 of them killed.