TORONTO: Condemning the killing of 19 Sikhs by a suicide bomber in Jalalabad in Afghanistan on July 1, the Canada India Foundation (CIF) has urged Ottawa to accept Sikh and Hindu minority communities from Afghanistan and Pakistan as refugees into Canada.
In a statement, CIF chairman Ajit Someshwar said, “This dastardly act is yet another sign of the continuing victimisation of the religious minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan by fundamentalist Islamist forces.”
He said Canada should work to alleviate the plight of the religious minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Just as Canada took the lead in accepting Syrian refugees, the Canadian government should also allow the members of the minority Sikh and Hindu communities from Afghanistan and Pakistan to immigrate to Canada,” Someshwar said.
Anil Shah, who is the National Convener of the Canada India Foundation, said, “Our hearts and minds are with the families of the victims, and we hope and pray that they will have the forbearance to face this calamity with equanimity.”
He said the Canadian government should proactively help the persecuted religious minorities in Afghanistan to prevent any further mass killings of people merely because they have a different belief system.
Among those killed included Avatar Singh Khalsa, a prominent Sikh community leader and a minority candidate for the October 2018 parliamentary elections.
The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility of the attack.
In its statement, the Islamic State said, “A suicide bomber detonated his vest at a gathering of Afghan troops and Hindus and Sikhs, who were on their way to meet the Afghan President.”
The IS said the group was targeted as it comprised “polytheists.”