Afghan Gurudwaras in bad shape.

However, refusal by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to send a delegation of the SGPC to carry out repair of gurdwaras to Afghanistan has annoyed Sikhs there. Residents of Kabul, who met this correspondent at Nankana Sahib and Lahore during Gurpurb celebrations, said alt all gurdwaras built in memory of Guru Nanak and his son had been destroyed.

While the Taliban had destroyed ancient statues of Mahatma Buddha, Sikh shrines had been destroyed in the US attacks. The letter of Mr Vajpayee, addressed to Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, reads: 'I understand the compelling desire of the Sikh community to restore and renovate holy Sikh shrines in Afghanistan. However, I think it would be a good idea for the visit of the SGPC delegation to be deferred to a later date when the security situation, especially in and around Jalalabad and Kandahar is more conducive.' {pagebreak}

The historical gurdwaras in Afghanistan are Gurdwara Bhai Nand Lal Goya (Ghazni), Gurdwara Guru Nanak Dev (Jalalabad), Gurdwara Baba Shree Chand (Kabul), Gurdwara Karteparwan (Kabul), Gurdwara Koth Sahib (Kabul), Gurdwara Kotha Sahib (Ghazni), Gurdwara Baba Nanak (Kabul), Gurdwara Guru Har Rai (Kabul), Gurdwara Khalsa Dewan and Chashma Sahib (Sultanpur).

Though t Afghan Sikhs who had fled to Pakistan, India and other countries have gone back to their native land, yet they are unable to re-construct their places of workship. Mr Partap Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh, both brothers from Kabul, said there was an urgent need to send a delegation of the SGPC to carry out a survey of the damaged Sikh shrines so that the rich heritage of the community could be saved.

Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh said he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister for sending an SGPC delegation to Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and other cities of Afghanistan so that the gurdwaras there could be re-constructed at the earliest.

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