Will consider it my 'Seva' if Taliban kill me, says last Hindu priest in strife-torn Afghanistan, refuses to flee
Desperate images of Afghanis clinging on to planes to escape the Taliban who have taken over the country have been doing the rounds on social media but Pandit Rajesh Kumar, the last Hindu priest of the Rattan Nath temple, is an exception.
As Taliban continued their offensive in Afghanistan, Kumar was urged to leave Kabul, with several Hindus offering to arrange for his travel and stay. However, for Kumar, his unwavering loyalty to the temple meant he was seeking no escape route.
On his Twitter handle @BharadwajSpeaks, Bharadwaj posted, “Pandit Rajesh Kumar, the priest of Rattan Nath Temple in Kabul said: “Some Hindus have urged me to leave Kabul & offered to arrange for my travel and stay. But my ancestors served this Mandir for hundreds of years. I will not abandon it. If Taliban kills me, I consider it my Seva."
The situation in Afghanistan deteriorated after Taliban took over Kabul, the heart of the country and the last bastion in government control. Since then, President Ashraf Ghani has fled the nation, admitting that the insurgents have won. Fearing reprisal, thousands of desperate Afghanis are trying to flee the country, with disturbing visuals showing some falling mid-air to their death after they clung on to aircraft in the hope of an escape route.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that India will help members of Afghanistan’s tiny Sikh and Hindu community to come to India. “We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities. We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
India invested millions of dollars in development projects in Afghanistan and Bagchi said the government stood by the Afghans who had partnered it in that task.
Many Hindus and Sikhs have taken refuge in Kabul’s Karte Parwan gurdwara after Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban, DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed on Monday. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief said he was in touch with the president of the Gurdwara Committee of Kabul regarding the safety of minorities, including Hindus and Sikhs in that country.
“I am in constant touch with the president of Gurdwara Committee of Kabul and the Sangat who have told me that 320 plus people, including 50 Hindus and 270 plus Sikhs, have taken refuge in Karte Parwan gurdwara in Kabul in wake of recent developments. “Taliban leaders have met them and assured them of their safety. We are hopeful that Hindus and Sikhs would be able to live a safe and secure life despite political and military changes happening in Afghanistan," Sirsa said.
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