Tribute to those killed in Kabul Gurdwara attack

BBC News – Omar Abdullah: Kashmir leader released from months-long detention

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 24 March 2020. Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, has been released after nearly eight months in detention.

The decision was taken amid concern for his health because of Covid-19, a police official told BBC Urdu.

He added that Mr Abdullah would be home “anytime today”.

He was among thousands of local leaders put under house arrest a day before the disputed region was stripped of its semi-autonomous status on 5 August.

His house arrest was further extended in February under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows detention without charge for up to two years.

But last week India’s top court asked the federal government for an update on his release, in response to a petition by Mr Abdullah’s sister.

Another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, whose house arrest was also extended under the PSA, is still in detention. It’s also unclear how many Kashmiris continue to be held. Some estimates put the number in the thousands.

The Kashmir region has been tense since August. The government deployed tens of thousands of troops to quell unrest and enforced a crackdown on communications after it decided to strip the region of its special status and split it into two federally-administered territories.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party defended the decision, saying it was necessary to uphold law and order.

Although phone connections and internet services have been restored, access remains poor and speeds are below what is common in the rest of India. – Deadly attack on Kabul’s Gurdwara leaves more than 30 Sikhs dead; Attack suspected to be a handiwork of Islamic State

Sikh24 Editors

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 March 2020. Scores of unidentified gunmen and suicide bombers today attacked a Gurdwara Sahib in Afghanistan’s national capital Kabul during the morning hours. More than 30 causalities are being expected in this deadly attack while around 200 are being reported trapped inside the Gurdwara complex.

“A security source said that at least 11 people have been killed by attackers at Dharamshala, a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul, Afghanistan,” tweeted TOLO news a local news outlet of Afghanistan.

Narender Singh Khalsa, an Afghan parliamentarian who represents the tiny Sikh community, said that up to 200 people were trapped inside Gurdwara Sahib in this early morning’s attack.

He further informed that around three suicide bombers had entered into Gurdwara premises today when the Dharamshala was full of devotees. Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces are combating to tackle the assailants. It is learnt that the security forces have sealed entire area.

Initially, it was being expected as an attack by Taliban but the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed has tweeted that the Talibanis were not involved. Now, the Islamic State is being suspected behind this attack as an Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate had struck a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people earlier this month.

Sikhs and Shia Hazaras are being targeted by whoever these idiots were

Deadly attack on Kabul’s Gurdwara leaves more than 30 Sikhs dead; Attack suspected to be a handiwork of Islamic State

Gent: Minard Schouwburg – Botermarkt/Korenmarkt

Minard Schouwburg
22 February 2020

Minard Schouwburg (Theatre)

Minard Schouwburg (Theatre)

Pub and square (plein) named after Romain Deconinck,
whose statue is on the steps of the theatre

22 February 2020

Botermarkt – City Hall

Korenmarkt – St Nicholaschurch

Korenmarkt – Tram 4 to UZ

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Aljazeera – Kabul Sikh temple (Gurdwara) siege: Dozens killed in attack claimed by ISIL

Hours-long siege of Sikh religious complex in Afghan capital ends after the attackers were killed, government says.

Kabul – Afghanistan, 25 March 2020. Afghan forces have killed gunmen who attacked a Sikh religious complex in the capital, Kabul, ending an hours-long siege that killed 25 people, the Ministry of Interior has said.

The attack on Wednesday was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group. Earlier, the Taliban armed group denied it was behind the siege that left at least eight others wounded.

Later in the day, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a message to journalists the operation by the security forces had concluded and all attackers were killed. Security forces cordoned off the area, located in old Kabul, after gunmen stormed the complex, the government said.

Narindra Singh Khalsa, a parliamentarian from the minority Sikh community, told AP news agency he had been near the Gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, when the attack happened and ran to the site.

Those killed included a child whose body was brought to a Kabul hospital, emergency services and the hospital said.

Sound of explosions

At a Kabul hospital, Mohan Singh, who was in the Gurdwara at the time of the attack, told AP he first heard the sound of gunshots and dove for cover under a table. Later, he heard the sound of explosions, adding that he believes they were hand grenades. He was injured when parts of the ceiling fell on him.

In photographs shared by the interior ministry, about a dozen children were seen being rushed out of the Gurdwara by Afghan special forces, many of them barefoot and crying.

Khalsa later told Reuters News Agency that many people were still inside the building. “The gunmen started their attack at a time when the Dharamsala was full of worshippers,” he said, referring to a sanctuary area in the temple compound.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks activities by armed groups, said ISIL had claimed responsibility for the attack on its Aamaq media arm.

Earlier this month, an affiliate of ISIL attacked a gathering of minority Shia Muslims in Kabul, killing 32 people.

Sikhs in Afghanistan

The attack comes a day after the US said it would cut its aid to the Afghan government by $1bn over frustrations that feuding political leaders could not reach an agreement and form a team to negotiate with the Taliban.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul on Tuesday in a bid to resolve a standoff between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who also proclaimed himself president following a contested election.

The US and the Taliban signed a deal last month that was supposed to pave the way for talks between the Afghan leadership and the rebels, but with Kabul unable to agree on who is in government, the talks have stalled.

Sikhs, who number fewer than 300 families, have suffered widespread discrimination in the country and have also been targeted by armed groups. In 2018, a suicide bombing targeting the Sikh community and claimed by ISIL killed more than a dozen people in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Under Taliban rule in the late 1990s, Sikhs were asked to identify themselves by wearing yellow armbands, but the rule was not enforced.

In recent years, large numbers of Sikhs and Hindus have sought asylum in India, which has a Hindu majority and a large Sikh population.

The Hindu – 277 people evacuated from corona-virus-hit Iran reach Army facility in Jodhpur

Among them were Shia 273 pilgrims

Jaipur – Rajasthan – India, 25 March 2020. A batch of 277 people evacuated from the corona-virus-hit Iran arrived at the Jodhpur airport in Rajasthan on Wednesday early morning, a defence spokesperson said.

He said preliminary screening of the evacuees, mostly pilgrims, was conducted at the airport upon arrival and thereafter they were taken to the Army Wellness Facility set up at the Jodhpur Military Station.

The Army, in coordination with the Rajasthan state medical authorities and civil administration, has made adequate medical and administrative arrangements to ensure a comfortable stay for the evacuees and provide prophylactic medical support, he said.

The defence spokesperson said that the facility has a dedicated team of Army doctors, who will be constantly monitoring the health parameters of the evacuees for the duration of their stay.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rohit Kumar Singh said that 273 of the evacuees are pilgrims. Among the people were 149 women and girls.

Follow the link below to read a previous article about Indian Shia pilgrims stuck in Iran…us-cases-in-iran/