CONCERNED SIKHS PROVIDING CONTEXT TO THE AFGHAN SIKH SITUATION
On March 25th, 2020, a militant attack on Gurduara Guru Harirai Sahib in the Shorbazar district of Kabul sparked a renewed call to get the remaining Sikhs of Afghanistan to safety. Global concern for this vulnerable community and campaigns for relief and resettlement are at an all-time high, but due to decades of instability and isolation, channels for meaningful distribution are few and far between. The majority of migration out of Afghanistan occured in the 90s and to date, approximately less than 1% of the community remains. The renewed call in 2020 for Sikhs to leave Afghanistan comes in the wake of a call after a 2018 attack in Jalalabad. On July 1st 2018, a suicide bomb killed 19 people in an attack on Sikh and Hindu political representatives awaiting President Ashraf Ghani.
Seeing a gap between advocacy campaigns and channels for implementation, our coalition teamed together to collect and verify data, information, and offer guidance through recommendations. We are a group of concerned Sikhs who come from the Afghan Sikh and Afghan Hindu communities or have worked extensively with these populations. All information displayed goes through rigorous fact-checking with relevant parties.
ASHA MARIE KAUR
Asha Marie Kaur is a researcher on the Afghan Sikh community who began her field work in 2017. Her thesis, “Afghanistan is Our Homeland: Stories from Delhi of Afghan Sikh Refugees’ Forced Migration, Survival, and Adaptation to a New Land” is the longest English-language study on the Afghan Sikh community written to date. As a Persian speaker with familial ties to the Iranian Sikh community, she has used her position to bridge the information gap between Afghan and Panjabi Sikh communities. She is a researcher at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI).
Harinder Singh is a widely respected educator, author, and thinker. He co-founded the Sikh Research Institute and the Panjab Digital Library. He consults on films, curriculum, and exhibitions. Since 1990s, his activism spans from projects related to 1984 Sikh Genocide to Sarbat Khalsa governance. He is sought after public speaker, raising consciousness of audience worldwide. His current focus is on availing the wisdom of Guru Granth Sahib to global audience and developing critical thinking in Sikh institutions.
Pritpal Singh was born in Afghanistan and is based in London. Known as TheAfghanDutchSikh on social media channels, he is the filmmaker behind the documentaries Mission Afghanistan and Hindu Khush to Thames, both publicly available on YouTube. He has extensively filmed, photographed, and interviewed Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities in his native country of Afghanistan as well as the diaspora, most notably in London, UK where he resides. Recently he was awarded the Tomorrow's Hope Project Media Prize for his work in Afghan media. He is a sought after voice and advocate for the Afghan Sikh community.
Raveena Mata is an anthropology student at Wayne State University who has conducted extensive ethnographic research on the Afghan Sikh and Hindu diaspora community in the West. As a second-generation Afghan Sikh, she provides a community perspective. She facilitates afghanhindu.info, the first website specifically dedicated to history, culture, and news on Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.
RYAN SINGH KOHLI
Ryan Singh Kohli is a practising barrister in England and Wales and a leading practitioner in the fields of public law and judicial review. He has extensive human rights advocacy experience and provided litigation support to the team representing the families of 1984 victims to secure the conviction of Sajjan Kumar in the Delhi High Court in December 2018. Most recently, Ryan worked with the authorities on the Caribbean island of Montserrat to successfully emancipate a Sikh victim of modern slavery.