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Eroding Defence

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After the attack on Gurudwara Karte Parwan on 18 June in Kabul, this last Sikh shrine there has almost been destroyed. The ‘saroops’ of the Guru Granth Sahib have been saved but little else remains. The terrorist organisation, Islamic State, is reported to have taken responsibility for the attack. From around a lakh Sikhs living in Afghanistan a couple of decades ago, only about a thousand remain in the country and are likely to migrate wherever they can. Yet another minority community will have been wiped out.

This great tragedy has been given only passing mention in the media because very few care, and nobody feels anything can be done about it. So, it has been brushed under the carpet as yet another unmentionable in history. Any mention in the coming years will be declared an ‘unnecessary’ revival of past wounds and the advice would be ‘to get on with the present’. The silence, of course, is even more deafening from those who have opposed the CAA, which was directed at helping those targeted for their religious beliefs. Fortunately for the Afghan Sikhs, other countries have greater empathy and are reportedly already clearing the way to providing asylum.

Having taken over Afghanistan, the Taliban may well be on the way to being treated de-facto by other countries as the government, but they are on the horns of a dilemma. Even as they claim that non-Muslims have protection under Islamic law, they are being challenged by an even more extremist group that will not even provide that little space to the ‘unbelievers’. Considering that the Taliban have basically won because the people did not fight against those who claimed to represent Islam, how are they going to oppose the ‘Islamic State’? They will only feel pressured to be even more radical than they are at present. Any desire to provide good governance will be abandoned.

The irony is that it is this very Taliban that Pakistan is hoping will mediate with the ‘Tehreeq-e-Taliban Pakistan’ to stop terrorist attacks in its territory. From the Indian point of view, the almost immediate impact of the failure to contain the radical forces will be felt by the minorities living in Pakistan. Are they to be left to their fate, or should attempts be revived to provide them sanctuary here if they wish to? It is surprising that so many politicians believe that this has to be opposed on the premise that ‘Muslims’ will feel left out? Should India stand by as more ‘history’ is made?