Solidarity With Sikhs Following The Afghanistan Gurudwara Attacks
The Hindu Council of New Zealand extends our aroha, love and sympathy for the sad and unacceptable events at the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul on Wednesday 25 March 2020.
The Gurdwara, a Sikh shrine, a place of worship where people should feel safe and at home was placed under siege with 25 people losing their lives and 8 getting injured, and many other lives being impacted by this heinous act.
Before the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Hindu and Sikh leaders estimated their combined population at more than 200,000 nationwide. In 1992, more than 15,000 Hindu families fled to neighbouring India, leaving only about 3,000 Hindu and Sikh families in Kabul. Today, just more than 300 Sikh families remain in the capital. With the number of Sikhs and Hindus down, those that remain are fighting a struggle to keep their religious historical legacy intact by guarding their Gurdwaras and Temples.
The attack on Wednesday was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group. "The gunmen started their attack at a time when the Dharamsala was full of worshippers," a witness said, referring to a sanctuary area in the temple compound.
New Zealand has been playing an active role to keep the peace in Afghanistan. Several New Zealanders have lost their lives in their efforts to keep peace in the country. However, despite the international community action to maintain peace and order, the situation for some sections of the community is very tragic in Afghanistan.
New Zealand, as a country was united in condemning the religiously motivated violence on March 15, 2019. Christchurch mosque shooting victims received messages of love from all the religious community both from domestically and internationally. The nations across the world join hand with New Zealand in supporting the victims and condemned the act of the solo gunman who attacked the Friday worshipers.
Having experienced similar emotions close to home, we request all New Zealanders and the government to express their solidarity for the victims of Kabul massacre and condemn the heinous terrorists act.
The remaining Hindu and Sikh community are feeling threatened in their home country and are seeking refuge in a safe and welcoming country. As New Zealand has increased its refugee quota, we request that this group is also seen and recognised in with similar empathy and heartfelt action.
The current Covid-19 situation has brought out the kindness in the humanity across the nations. We appeal to every nation to extend your love and support to the victims of the Afghanistan Gurudwara massacre in this trying time.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The world is one family
National Government Liaison and Stakeholder Advisor
Hindu Organisations and Temples Association New Zealand