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The bloodshed in Gurudwara


The attack on the Sikh temple (gurudwara) in Afghan capital, Kabul on 25 March in which 25 people were killed,  is nothing but brutal and unpardonable  – an act any one believing in humanity would denounce.  Afghan and Pak governments and the UN Security Council have condemned the attack.

In India,  the birthplace of the Sikh religion, strong sentiments of protest have been raised against the incident. Apart from the Sikh religious bodies,  prime minister Narendra Modi,  defence minister Rajnath singh and others have also hit out at the dastardly crime. The attack happened around 7 a.m. on 25 March when about 200 devotees had arrived at the gurudwara for prayer.  The three-man strong group who stormed into the gurudwara by throwing grenades,  were firing shots at the devotees. Those who had entered the gurudwara for prayers were able to come out only after Afghan security personnel shot and killed all the three assailants.

The first reaction from the Afghan government is that Taliban's Haqqani network,  which operates with the Pak-Afghan border as its base,  was behind the attack.   However,  later reports indicated that the outfit called Islamic State of Khorasan Province  had claimed responsibility for it.  But who actually were the culprits may remain a mystery that will never come out.  In any case,  the incident has caused grave fear and anxiety among the Sikhs in Afghanistan, a very small minority community in the country.   In an earlier attack, i.e. July 2018 in Jalalabad,  18 people had been killed including the chief priest of this gurudwara and the sole member of Afghan parliament Avtar Singh.  It is but natural for an attack to send jitters in that community following it. The Afghan Sikhs are a small community of a few thousand,  with little political voice nor capable of raising any challenge against any one.   That being so,  it is bizarre and incomprehensible why such a terror attack was made against them.  Usually terror outfits make assaults with some political ends in sight.  There is no reason for presuming that targeting Sikhs would further anyone's cause in Afghanistan.    If that is ruled out, then the motive for the strike should be a religious parochalism that would not allow any religion other than one's own to exist,  however small that community.  If this construction is given credence, what the assailants pursued is a heinous attitude under the umbrage of religion.  And if they are operating under the name of Islam,  as a matter of fact it has the least to do with the religion of Islam.

Reports emerging about the incident are that Islamic State is behind the assault.  But at the same time,  the Afghan government and Nato alliance which has been supporting the former,  have been claiming that the IS was operating only in some remote regions of Afghanistan,  and has been annihilated.  The Afghan and Pak governments,  Nato forces and Taliban were all united in the fight against IS.   It was against an IS base in the Afghan province of Nangarhar that the US bomb, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (known as the 'mother of all bombs') was deployed for the first time, in April 2017.   And if such an entity - IS -  that is said to have been pulverised,  was able to enter the high-security Afghan capital and unleash such a grenade attack,  it borders on the mysterious.

Afghan's Muslims and Sikhs are two communities living in good relations. And in the motherland of Sikha, India,  current times have in particular witnessed relations of solidarity between them and Muslims.  It is the Sikhs who as a community remained closest to Muslims in the protest against the citizenship law.  The presence at and support to the Shaheen Bagh protest by Sikh religious leaders and religious bodies had caught wide attention too.   It is natural that any development related to the Sikh community anywhere in the world will have its repercussions in India.   It is in that context that at least some have raised the suspicion whether the Kabul attack had an ulterior motive of wrecking the Sikh-Muslim solidarity in India.   When a white racist made a firing attack on Muslim mosques on 19 March 2019 in New Zealand,  two weeks later there were suicide attacks on Christian churches  in Sri Lanka which killed 259 people.   And those attacks were attributed to a relatively unknown Muslim extremist outfit.   The Sri Lankan attacks had created a sort of chasm in the  solidarity between the Christian-Muslim religious leaderships.  However, two months after the incident,  none other than Sri Lanka's president himself stated that the church attack was the work of international drug mafia.   What happens in such background is that the truth about such terror attacks usually get blown out and disappear into oblivion by those very blasts together with the bombers.

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