Afghan Sikhs and Hindus celebrated the traditional festival Baisakhi in Jalalabad

Courtesy: currentriggers.com

Afghanistan still has some Sikhs and Hindus living in the nation.

Yesterday, some Afghan Sikhs and Hindus celebrated the traditional festival Baisakhi in Jalalabad which local Muslims also attended.

The gathering enjoyed food and drinks.

Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏
Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏

Earlier, Afghan Hindus and Sikhs did not play Holi for which they earned a lot of praise.

Last year, on Eid President Ashraf Ghani wished the Sikh and the Hindu community of Afghanistan on Eid but the outreach on Holi, Diwali or Baisakhi are few. But it seems that some progress may finally be made on the outreach front as India and Afghanistan continue to share warm relations.

Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏
Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏

However, many Afghan Sikhs and Hindus have recently become a target of persecution and have been forced out of their country due to prevailing conditions.

The “AFGHANISTAN 2016 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT” issued by the US government had concluded saying that Sikhs and Hindus faced discrimination, reporting unequal access to government jobs and harassment in school, as well as verbal and physical abuse in public places. Ethnic Hazaras, Sikhs, and Hindus were subjected to discrimination in hiring and work assignments, in addition to broader social discrimination, the report said.

Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏
Picture source: Bashir Ahmad Gwakh‏

The report also mentioned the startling fact that the Sikh and Hindu Council of Afghanistan reported that there were approximately a mere 900 members of the Sikh and Hindu community left in the country. The drastic fall in the numbers of minorities can be attributed to the prevailing hostile conditions and also targeted murders that have led to the exodus.

In its column, Participation of Women and Minorities, the report stated that the Afghanistan Constitution specifies a minimum number of seats for women and minorities in the two houses of parliament.

In practice, one seat in the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Afghanistan) is reserved for the appointment of a Sikh or Hindu representative, although this is not mandated by the Afghan Constitution. But the lack of adequate representation means that the minorities remain unheard, on most parts.