8 Subh, Kabul: The government has allocated 40 million Afghanis to rebuild the country’s Hindu and Sikh shrines. Officials at the Ministry of Finance say that this amount has been allocated for the reconstruction of Hindu and Sikh shrines and places of worship in Afghanistan in the 2021 budget.
Shamruz Khan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, told 8 Subh that 40 million Afghanis were earmarked for the 2021 fiscal year to renovate Hindu places of worship. In the budget document for the 2020 fiscal year, the government had set aside 50 million Afghanis for the reconstruction of these shrines. A ministry spokesperson said that of the 50 million budget allocated last fiscal year, about 39 million Afghanis had been spent.
The budget for 2021 has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives has rejected the budget due to imbalances, demands for equalization of government employees’ salaries and the allocation of large sums to emergency funds.
Last year, the Ministry of Finance announced that 50 million Afghanis would be spent on rebuilding Hindu shrines in Kabul, Nangarhar, Khost, Herat, Kandahar, Paktia, Laghman and Ghazni provinces. This reconstruction would be carried out by the government at its own discretion and priority.
In the past, a significant number of Hindu citizens lived in Afghanistan. This religious and ethnic minority had active places of worship in Kabul, Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Kandahar, Paktia, Kunduz, Herat, Khost, Uruzgan and some other provinces.
In recent years, in the wake of the civil war, some Hindu shrines were destroyed and some of the religious minority’s property confiscated. Earlier this year, Hindus and Afghan Sikhs left the country in groups after a deadly attack on the Sikhs in the Shurbazar area of Kabul.