Due to unrest in Afghanistan the population of Sikhs and Hindus have declined drastically, as about 3,000 people belonging to the two communities have been left in the war-torn country, a woman Sikh MP of the country's lower house of parliament said here today.
"Before 1991, there were an estimated 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus. They migrated, leaving their successful businesses in Kabul, Kandahar and other cities, to safer places in India, Europe and Canada," said Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, who is also a leading campaigner for the rights of Afghan women.
30-year-old Honaryar said that there number has gone down since 1991 due to unrest in her country and only "3,000 Sikhs and Hindus" are left in the country.
She is here to attend first two-day South Asian Punjabi conference.
The Afghan MP said that women in the country are worst affected as they were married at a tender age.
"The women in Afghanistan are worst affected as their parents, majority of them from business community, marry them at the age of 13 to 14, and they are not even fully educated and grown up," she said.
She also lamented about the lack of proper choices for young Sikhs and Hindus for marriage due to the tiny population.
"Educated Sikh girls and boys in Afghanistan have been facing difficulty to settle their matrimonial life in that country as suitable matches available for them are limited," said Honaryar, who is also a dentist.
Honaryar is a well-known women rights activist and has been awarded UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for promotion of tolerance and non-violence.
She also thanked the Indian government for rebuilding their country.
Honaryar said that Afghanistan government has opened two Punjabi schools meant for Sikhs-- one in the name of 'Guru Baba Nanak' in Kabul province and another in Jalalabad province in the name of 7th Guru Har Rai ji.
The MP also expressed hope that Sikhs and Hindus may get their own proper cremation ground in Kabul province.