The Centre has granted nearly 100 e-visas on priority to Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, government sources said, in the wake of a deadly attack by the Islamic State on a Sikh temple in Afghan capital Kabul. The attack on Saturday killed at least two people and injured seven, officials said, in a spate of violence targeting minorities and places of worship.
Grey smoke billowed over the area in images aired by domestic broadcaster TOLO. A Taliban interior spokesman said attackers had laden a car with explosives but it had detonated before reaching its target.
A temple official, Gornam Singh, said there were around 30 people inside the building at the time. A spokesman for Kabul’s commander said one Sikh worshipper had been killed in the attack and one Taliban fighter was killed as his forces took control of the area.
The blast on Saturday was widely condemned as one of a series of attacks targeting minorities, with a statement from neighbouring Pakistan saying its government was “seriously concerned at the recent spate of terrorist attacks on places of worship in Afghanistan.”
India has slammed the “cowardly attack” and said it is closely monitoring the situation. Modi tweeted, “Shocked by the cowardly terrorist attack against the Karte Parwan Gurudwara in Kabul. I condemn this barbaric attack, and pray for the safety and well-being of the devotees.”
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Saturday condemned the attack and said the terror strike has shattered the Sikh community’s hope of peace in Afghanistan.
Like other religious minorities, Sikhs have been a continual target of violence in Afghanistan. An attack at another temple in Kabul in 2020 that killed 25 was also claimed by Islamic State.
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Saturday condemned a terror attack on a gurdwara in Kabul and urged the Centre to take up the issue in the United Nations General Assembly.
Addressing a press conference here, DSGMC president Harmeet Singh Kalka and General Secretary Jagdeep Singh Kahlon said it is highly condemnable that terrorists targeted the gurdwara, killed its guard and injured many pilgrims. Noting that such incidents are repeatedly happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan in which minority communities are being targeted and their holy shrines are being wiped out, they said it is a “clear violation” of human rights of the minority communities in these countries.