Source : Press Trust of India (PTI)
|India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador T S Tirumurti (File Photo)|
Denouncing the recent “cowardly” and “dastardly” attack on a Sikh gurudwara in Kabul, India on Monday said it is time UN member states condemn hatred against non-Abrahamic religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism as well and stop being selective in combating religiophobia.
Several blasts tore through Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighbourhood on Saturday, killing two persons, including a Sikh. The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the deadly terror attack, calling it “an act of support” for the Prophet.
Speaking at the high-level meeting in the UN General Assembly to mark the commemoration of the first International Day for Countering Hate Speech, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti recalled in the 193-member UN body the attack against Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala area.
“India has time and again emphasised that combating religiophobia can never succeed if it continues to be exclusionary and remains restricted to one or two religions only, while completely ignoring the rise in hatred and discrimination against non-Abrahamic religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism,” Mr Tirumurti said.
He said that the June 18 attack, on the very day the International Day for Countering Hate Speech was commemorated, is “yet another tragic example” of an attack against the Sikh religion, this time in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“The Gurdwara Karte Parwan was attacked, desecrated and damaged. We condemn in the strongest terms this cowardly, dastardly attack where lives were tragically lost. It’s time the UN member states condemned hatred against non-Abrahamic religions as well and stop from being selective in combating religiophobia,” he said.
Mr Tirumurti emphasised that “there cannot be double standards on religiophobias if you truly want to combat hate.”
India has consistently called, including at various UN platforms, for concerted efforts by the international community to combat hate and violence not just against Abrahamic religions but against all religions, including Sikhism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
On several occasions in the UN, Mr Tirumurti has pointed out that contemporary forms of religiophobia can be witnessed in the increase in attacks on religious places of worship like gurudwaras, monasteries and temples or in spreading of hatred and disinformation against non-Abrahamic religions in many countries.
India has said that the shattering of the iconic Bamiyan Buddha by fundamentalists, the terrorist bombing of the Sikh gurudwara in Afghanistan where 25 Sikh worshippers were killed in March 2020 and the destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples and minority cleansing of these religions by countries, call for condemning such acts against these religions also.
He said that hate speech is the antithesis of peace, tolerance and harmony.
“Unfortunately, we continue to witness a rising trend in hate speech. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding that India had joined 12 other countries to issue a cross regional statement on the infodemic in June 2020.
In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber entered a prominent gurdwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the Sikh community in the strife-torn country.
In 2018, a suicide bomber struck a gathering in the eastern city of Jalalabad, whilst another gurdwara was attacked in 2020.
Since the Taliban took power in August last year, Afghanistan has seen continuing attacks by rival Sunni Muslim terrorist group, Islamic State.