By SATimes Team
Hicksville, NY: Visiting the Asa Mai Hindu Temple here on Sept 10, Indian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi stated that all except a handful of Hindus and Sikhs were evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. “They were brought to India and many were rescued and sent to other countries so that people’s life, tradition and dignity can be kept intact, and that is what India stands for.”
After the minister, accompanied by Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, was welcomed with a ceremonial scarf by the temple priest, she briefly addressed the gathering and said she was proud of the Hindus and Sikhs who had to leave after living for centuries in Afghanistan and have continued to practice their faith and tradition with dignity against all opposition and adversity.
The meeting was also attended by some Afghan-origin Sikhs, who founded the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Hicksville, near the Hindu temple.
Lekhi stated that her Punjabi family is from Harappa, now in Pakistan. Indeed, Indians were the original inhabitants of Pakistan and Afghanistan, she said, but the last seven decades have changed a lot there.
The minister revealed that what brought her to the Asa Mai temple is that the Jyoti burning here 24 hours is a branch of the original Jyoti in Afghanistan.
Those who welcomed Meenakashi Lekhi in the temple included temple officials Senapati Lund (who is also Chair, Global Society of Afghan Hindus), Radhu Bathija and Gobind Bathija, gurdwara officials Dayal Singh Vohra and Harcharan Singh Gulati, as well as prominent community members including Dr Dattatreyudu Nori, Narinder Kapoor, Ravishankar Bhooplapur, and Kamlesh Mehta.