A Sikh politician, who was planning to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, was among the 19 people killed in a suicide blast in Nangarhar province’s Jalalabad city on Sunday, news agency ANI reported.
The deceased, Avtar Singh Khalsa, had planned to contest the single seat reserved for the Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan. Khalsa was travelling in a convoy when the explosion occurred.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives when the delegation was on its way to the governor’s house in three vehicles, Nangarhar police chief Ghulam Sanaei Stanikzai was quoted by Pajhwok Afghan News as saying. The team was to meet President Ashraf Ghani, who was on a visit to Jalalabad.
Khalsa's son, Narendra Singh, survived and was recovering in a local hospital, according to media reports. Khalsa is survived by his wife and four children.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the terror strike an attack on the nation's multicultural fabric.
"We strongly condemn the terror attacks in Afghanistan yesterday. They are an attack on Afghanistan's multicultural fabric," he wrote on Twitter on Monday.
"My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray that the injured recover soon. India stands ready to assist the Afghanistan government in this sad hour," Modi said.
Nangarhar governor's spokesperson, Attaullah Khogyani, said 11 Sikhs were among those killed. According to several media reports, Hindus were among the deceased.
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) released a list of 11 Sikhs killed in Sunday's blast.
The Afghan Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament, has 249 seats. Polls are slated to be held on October 20, according to TOLOnews.
Over 600 Sikhs and Hindus have registered to vote in the elections so far, as per a data by the Independent Election Commission (IEC).