Hindu organization urges U.S., India to protect religious minorities in Afghanistan

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The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) is urging the governments of United States and India to stand with Afghans, especially religious minorities in that country.

In a statement released Aug. 19, 2021, CoHNA said it “stands with the beleaguered people of Afghanistan, especially its religious minorities.”

Despite being indigenous to the land, they have been forced to choose between extermination or servitude, their history erased and their future put in jeopardy, CoHNA said.

“With Kabul falling to the Taliban forces, minorities find themselves in the crosshairs, vulnerable due to their faith,’ the statement said, adding that it expects fundamental rights, especially for religious minorities and women, will continue to decline under Taliban rule.

“We urge the US Government to support them by including religious minorities in Bill S1642, to keep America and the world apprised of their status. We also urge the United States government to try and influence future governance of the country to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law, to protect all religious minorities,” the organization said.

It noted that, “India, the only neighboring country with non-sectarian values, had welcomed all religious minorities that include Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, and Christian faith minorities in Afghanistan through the implementation of the CAA in 2019,” it noted.

It urged the Indian government, “to strengthen and start implementing that law,” referring to the CAA.

Last year, more than 250 families of Hindu and Sikh families in Afghanistan had been given special visas to come to India, CoHNA noted. It pointed a finger at those in U.S. and India of ‘political grandstanding’ on American campuses and public offices when they criticized the CAA.

Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have a long history in Afghanistan and thus have been targets of severe persecution over the centuries, CoHNA, recalling the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in March 2001, also accusing the Taliban of subjecting Hindu and Sikh Afghans to persecution during their reign in the 1990s.

“Small communities of Hindus and Sikhs continue to live in various parts of Afghanistan and deserve the world’s attention,” CoHNA said in its statement.

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