Kabul/New Delhi, June 18: Terrorists belonging to the Islamic State Khorasan faction on Saturday morning attacked the revered Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul with bombs and gunfire, leaving an elderly Sikh gentleman and an Afghan guard dead. Sikh leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that all the terrorists were neutralised by Afghan soldiers and the Gurdwara is now under Afghan police control.
He said in tweets that all the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus trapped inside were evacuated from the Gurdwara. Two persons who were injured have been sent to hospital, while one Afghan guard, Ahmad, was also killed.
Savinder Singh, a 60-year-old Afghan Sikh, was killed in the attack. He was a native of Ghazni province, while his family resides in Delhi.
In tweets, Sirsa said: “All the terrorists that attacked Gurdwara Karte Parwan Sahib neutralised by Afghan soldiers.
“Gurdwara Sahib now under Afghanistan Police control.”
Later, he tweeted that one Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, was brought out.
“S. Gurnam Singh, President of Gurdwara Karte Parwan, Kabul rescued one saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj. Two saroop are still there inside Gurdwara premises.”
Visuals of the attack scene showed debris and gaping holes in the gurdwara due to the bombings.
“Heartwrenching visuals of Gurdwara Karte Parwan Sahib post terror attack.
The damage done is beyond repair. One person Savinder Singh lost his life! A feeling of helplessness among minority Sikhs,” Sirsa said.
Sirsa said: “My heart goes out to the family of Savinder Singh; a Sikh who was killed today in Gurdwara Karte Parwan terror attack. Minority Sikhs have been facing multiple problems in Afghanistan & this terror attack has shattered their hopes of peace and harmony for Sikhs in Kabul.”
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar condemned the Kabul gurdwara attack in the strongest terms.
“The cowardly attack on Gurudwara Karte Parwan should be condemned in the strongest terms by all.
“We have been closely monitoring developments since the news of the attack was received. Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community.”
Afghan leader Amrullah Saleh who is living outside the country said in a tweet that the attack is by the Haqqani network of terrorists: “Can’t find lethal enough words to express condemnation of the heinous terrorist attack against the Gurdwara in Kabul targetting preaceful Sikh citizens of Afghanistan. With ISI backed Haqqani ruling Kabul and LeT/Jaish roaming free a fair investigation can’t be expected. Attack has all halmarks of Haqqani.”.
The Indian government said it is deeply concerned at the reports and is closely monitoring the situation.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement said: “We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments.”
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh voiced deep concern over the attack.
“Deeply concerned to hear about the news of an attack at a Gurdwara Sahib in Kabul, Afganistan. Praying to Waheguru Ji for the safety of all the devotees & citizens stuck inside the premises.
Urge the MEA to look into this matter & ensure the safety of all devotees.”
Activist and president of the Indian World Forum, Puneet Singh Chandhok in a tweet said “Sawinder Singh #Sikh aged around 60 Yrs S/o late Kishan Singh and native of Ghazni has been killed during the brutal attack in #Kabul earlier today at gurdwara. His cremation will take place later there today and his family resides in New Delhi. God bless #afghan #minorities.”
Harjinder Singh, president Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Amritsar – the premier body of the Sikhs – strongly condemned the attack. He has written a mail to the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure the safety and security of Sikhs /Hindus in Afghanistan.
According to social media, the attack took place at 8.30 am.
The terrorists detonated a bomb near the gated entrance of the Gurdwara and then stormed the building, with more bomb attacks. Black smoke was seen billowing in the air, and the gurdwara premises was on fire.
Habib Khan, an Afghan, tweeted: “A complex terrorist attack targeted a Gurdwara in Baghebala area of Kabul city. The neighborhood is home to Afghan Hindu and Sikh communities. So far, three blasts are heard in the area and heavy gunshots continue. No word on casualties at this stage.”
Earlier, Chandhok said that alarming reports were coming from Kabul and “unknown armed assailants have entered Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul”.
“I just spoke to Gurnam Singh, President, Gurdwara Karte Parwan. He was weeping and alleged that the assailants have killed all residing inside the Gurdwara. As per him the militants belong to ISIS,” he said.
Chandhok requested the Government of India to immediately repatriate the Afghan minorities from there without any further delay.
“They are waiting for e-visa since six months.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Business Upturn staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)