The Central Council of Sikhs of Afghanistan (CCSA) and a number of civil society institutions on Wednesday raised their voice against the Afghan government and Parliament and accused them of violating the Constitution by ignoring the legal rights and legitimate demands of the Sikh minority.
They claimed that according to the draft Election Law, one seat was reserved for the Hindu minority and Sikhs of Afghanistan in the House of Representatives, however, the Parliament by not including it in the final Law obliterated the article and violated the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Ravi Singh, deputy head of the CCSA, mentioned that the Council had recommended a candidate for IEC membership but the President disregarded their nomination and went ahead selecting others.
The CCSA complained that their rights have always been ignored by the Afghan government and Parliament.
The CCSA also said that in the Article 22 of the Constitution, it has been clearly stated that there should be no discrimination between nationals of the country, but, the government does not want to abide by it. The CCSA is unhappy with the decision as no seat has been reserved for the Hindu minority either in the Parliament or in the IEC.
"Reservation of one seat for the Hindu minority in the Parliament is mentioned in the Constitution of Afghanistan, but this article has been deleted from the Law by the Parliament. President Karzai also ignored the nomination of one Hindu candidate for the IEC membership," said Mr. Singh.
"Hindus of Afghanistan are not Indian or Pakistani refugees, they are citizens of Afghanistan, and they have played a constructive role in the preservation of democracy. Why their demands have not been considered?" questions Ahmad Shah Estanakzai, Chairman of the Afghanistan Peace Village.
Meanwhile, a number of civil society institutions have supported the demands of the CCSA and stressed on ensuring the protection of basic rights of Hindu minority in the country.
"According to the laws, Hindus are allowed to fight for their rights, but the government has violated the Constitution of Afghanistan and has failed to honor the demands of the Hindu minority group," said Ajmal Balochzada, a civil society activist.
"Rights of the Hindu and Sikh minorities have always been ignored by the government, none of their demands are ever accepted by the government, we, the civil society institutions firmly support their demands," said Zahra Sepehr, civil society activist.
The CCSA has said that in the past, thousands of Sikhs and Hindu families were living in the country and their humanitarian and legal rights were protected. Now, since their numbers have dwindled and reached seven hundred families, the government is taking advantage of the situation and not granting them their legal rights.
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