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Hindus, Sikhs Suffer as Marginalized Minorities

In a country where the overwhelming population is Muslim and the state religion is Islam, members of non-Muslim minority communities in Afghanistan face issues of harassment, poverty, unemployment, education deficits and forced conversion. After years in exile during the Taliban regime, many Hindus and Sikhs returned to Afghanistan with high hopes but years of marginalization and neglect have left them less hopeful, and in some cases, ready to leave again.

Raj Singh Kapoor is of Indian descent and lives with his family in Kabul. According to him, he and his kin are passed like a football between Afghanistan and India, unwanted and unserved by either country.

"I went to India four times, but we are called Afghans in India and Hindu in Afghanistan; We are a football between India and Afghanistan, and we are confused where to go," Kapoor told TOLOnews.

Another Hindu named Hajiji is most concerned with the lack of economic opportunity afforded to people of his faith in Afghanistan.

"Afghan officials do not employ us, and they haven't helped us in the past," Hajiji said. "We cannot go to India either, because we don't have anything to live for, what should we do?"

Indera Kwar, another Hindu Afghan who lives with her three kids in Kabul, indicated she feared being forced to convert was enough for her to consider packing her and her children up to move out of Afghanistan.

"Our son has been threatened, he was arrested yesterday by a number of Muslims that were trying to convert him to Islam by force," Kwar said on Sunday. "We think we might have to leave this country."

Kwar went on to explain that the discrimination she and her children suffer comes in the form of a lack of opportunity.

"There is no opportunity for education, and there are no good schools. I have three kids and my husband does not have a good job either," she said.

The newly elected Indian government in Delhi, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has promised to improve its relations with the Afghan government.

However for everyday Hindus and Sikhs, it remains unclear what official relations between the two governments will do for their everyday lives.

For now, Hindu and Sikh Afghans continue to face marginalization and inequality to such an extent that, for many of them, the hope they came to the country with after the fall of the Taliban has disappeared, and their desire to stay along with it.

Hindus, Sikhs Suffer as Marginalized Minorities

In a country where the overwhelming population is Muslim and the state religion is Islam, members

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In a country where the overwhelming population is Muslim and the state religion is Islam, members of non-Muslim minority communities in Afghanistan face issues of harassment, poverty, unemployment, education deficits and forced conversion. After years in exile during the Taliban regime, many Hindus and Sikhs returned to Afghanistan with high hopes but years of marginalization and neglect have left them less hopeful, and in some cases, ready to leave again.

Raj Singh Kapoor is of Indian descent and lives with his family in Kabul. According to him, he and his kin are passed like a football between Afghanistan and India, unwanted and unserved by either country.

"I went to India four times, but we are called Afghans in India and Hindu in Afghanistan; We are a football between India and Afghanistan, and we are confused where to go," Kapoor told TOLOnews.

Another Hindu named Hajiji is most concerned with the lack of economic opportunity afforded to people of his faith in Afghanistan.

"Afghan officials do not employ us, and they haven't helped us in the past," Hajiji said. "We cannot go to India either, because we don't have anything to live for, what should we do?"

Indera Kwar, another Hindu Afghan who lives with her three kids in Kabul, indicated she feared being forced to convert was enough for her to consider packing her and her children up to move out of Afghanistan.

"Our son has been threatened, he was arrested yesterday by a number of Muslims that were trying to convert him to Islam by force," Kwar said on Sunday. "We think we might have to leave this country."

Kwar went on to explain that the discrimination she and her children suffer comes in the form of a lack of opportunity.

"There is no opportunity for education, and there are no good schools. I have three kids and my husband does not have a good job either," she said.

The newly elected Indian government in Delhi, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has promised to improve its relations with the Afghan government.

However for everyday Hindus and Sikhs, it remains unclear what official relations between the two governments will do for their everyday lives.

For now, Hindu and Sikh Afghans continue to face marginalization and inequality to such an extent that, for many of them, the hope they came to the country with after the fall of the Taliban has disappeared, and their desire to stay along with it.

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