"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Report on Kabul Gurdwara attack raises inconvenient questions about the possible involvement of Indian agents Featured



Almost three months after the killings of 25 Sikhs in a terror incident in Afghanistan, US-based independent researchers have come out with a theory that counters official narrative. 

Published by Pieter Friedrich, an analyst on South Asian affairs and Bhajan Singh, a well-respected Sikh scholar and an activist, Kite Fights: The Proxy Wars Behind the Kabul Gurdwara Massacre is based, on close scrutiny of media reports.

The attack on March 25, 2020 on a historic gurdwara was blamed on Islamic State. A statement reportedly made by the group claimed that it was to avenge the repression of Muslims in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The bloody incident followed series of developments in India that help in comprehending real intentions behind the massacre.

The document which is likely to raise many eyebrows in New Delhi points out that the incident comes at a time when the  right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India is facing international criticism for mistreating religious minorities, particularly Muslims.

In all probability, the attack was like a god-sent opportunity for the Indian establishment for reasons well explained by Friedrich and Singh.

Not only have attacks on Muslims spiked in India ever since the BJP came to power with a brute majority in 2014, the BJP government arbitrarily abrogated special rights given to the only Muslim-dominated province of Kashmir in August, 2019 shortly after winning a second term. Civil rights remain suspended in the disputed territory which has been turned into a heavily militarized zone to suppress any voice of dissent.

Notably, in February 2019, when 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers died during a suicide attack blamed on Kashmiri insurgents seeking freedom from India, the BJP goons started targeting innocent Kashmiri Muslims all over India. This polarization helped the BJP government to win a second term in the May 2019 election, riding on a Hindu nationalist campaign.

As if this was not enough, the BJP government passed a highly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that only allows non-Muslim refugees in the country coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

The Sikhs had stood for Muslims, both in the wake of the February 2019 suicide attack, and against the CAA. They helped Kashmiri Muslims stranded in other parts of India to safely reach their homes, and were in the forefront of the protests against CAA. The Sikh diaspora also came out to show its solidarity with Kashmiri Muslims during demonstrations held in US and Canada. This has not gone down well with the BJP which has an agenda to assimilate Sikhs into the Hindu fold. 

It is therefore logical to ask: why would Islamic extremists be targeting the Sikhs in Afghanistan? Considering the timing of the Kabul attack, it sounds less convincing, as such an act would benefit the BJP government more than the Jihadists.

It is not surprising that the BJP supporters had tried to defend CAA in the aftermath of the Kabul episode. They justified its implementation by citing persecution of Sikhs in Afghanistan. It was like trying to kill two birds with one stone, by pitting Sikhs against Muslims and turning international attention to what is happening with minorities in Afghanistan. 

Even otherwise, the founding fathers of  Radhtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu supremacist organization of which the BJP is a part, harboured expansionist designs in South Asia and always saw Afghanistan as part of the  Greater Hindu India which they always wanted to establish. The report explains this in detail, and tells us how India has invested heavily in Afghanistan to not only maintain its supremacy in the region, but neutralize Pakistan by sponsoring insurgency in Baluchistan. India often accuses Pakistan of aiding and abetting militancy in Kashmir, but its own involvement in Pakistan’s Baluchistan state is no different.

Pakistan’s decision to open Kartarpur Corridor in November, 2019. has further frustrated the BJP. Kartarpur is close to the Indo-Pak border. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, spent the final years of his life at this place. It was separated from them due to partition between Muslim-dominated Pakistan and Hindu-dominated India in 1947. Relations between the two countries have never been stable. Nevertheless, for years, Sikhs in India have been seeking direct access to its important shrines, including Kartarpur. By allowing visa free entry to Kartarpur through a corridor, Pakistan has won the hearts of the Sikh community, to the dismay of the BJP which continues to maintain a hawkish posture toward its neighbours. This is despite the fact that Pakistan itself has become victim of the Islamic terrorism it once supported at the time of the cold war era. According to the report, the group being blamed for the Kabul massacre is also targeting Pakistanis. Any argument to suggest their desperation to target Sikhs under such circumstances holds little water.    

Rather, with the BJP government in power, the Indian establishment has turned more aggressive in its policy to establish a permanent base in Afghanistan. Both countries have seen Pakistan as a common enemy, and hold it responsible for creating the Frankenstein monster of Jihadi extremism, to help the US against the Soviets, that eventually spilled over to India. For this reason, India has been supporting Afghanistan both militarily and politically.  

That the Research and Analysis Wing, an Indian spy agency, is active in Afghanistan is not a secret. It cannot be a coincidence that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) was looking for one of the suspects involved in Kabul attack since 2017.

Abdul Khayum was from Kerala, India, and was on the NIA radar for being involved in multiple terror plots. Therefore, the possibility of its agents being complicit in the Gurdwara attack cannot be ruled out.

The report has drawn parallels between the Kabul events and those which happened in India and Sri Lanka in the past, using these to conclude how such killings have helped governments to patronize rogue elements to their advantage.

Those who are really concerned with what is happening in South Asia need to take time to read it thoroughly, with an open mind. One may agree or disagree with the interpretation of certain facts, but their authenticity cannot be challenged. As the report rightfully says, ”Official narratives, ideologies, and authorities must all pass interrogation to be deemed trustworthy and true”.


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