More than a year after Islamic State terrorists shot dead 25 people at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar, the family of Mahram Ali Shaghasi, the 43-year-old Afghan Muslim security officer who fell under their bullets that day, reached Delhi – to start a “better life”.
Mahram’s wife Fariba Gul Rok (40), son Abdul Wahid (23) and daughters Murwarid (24) and Geeta (19) were among the 94 people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs afghans, who landed on a special flight on Friday.
Mahram, from Qalai Zaman Khan in Kabul, was the sole breadwinner. He was the only Muslim who was killed in the attack on Gurdwara, all the other victims were from the Sikh community.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday, Abdul Wahid said: âOur lives have been in danger there since the Taliban took power. There is no one to bring food and cover family expenses. Since the death of my father, we no longer have a breadwinner. There are no jobs and there is no opportunity for education. But our Sikh brothers, whom my father died protecting, stood by our side and helped us migrate to India.
Referring to âthe uncertain situation in Afghanistan,â Wahid said, âThere is hardly any hope for a good future. We expect a better life here. We are also planning to migrate to Canada after spending time hereâ¦ life has become terrible, especially since the Taliban took power.
It was on March 25, 2020 that armed men stormed the gurdwara and opened fire. Among the 25 people killed was a three-year-old girl. Security forces rescued at least 80 other people, including women and children, who were inside the compound at the time. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which was described by India as a cowardly attack reflecting an “evil state of mind”.
Following the attack, Wahid said the local Sikh community had supported the family in “any way they could”. âThey covered our travel expenses and promised to provide us with basic expenses for three months in India. They also promised that they would help us apply to go to Canada, âhe said.
Describing his father and recalling the day of the attack, Wahid said: âHe was a very honest and hard-working man, devoted to his duty. He was committed to protecting the gurdwara from all harm. Although he never had any weapons, he guarded the premises 24/7. That day my father tried to stop a shooter at the entrance. He was shot in the shoulder and fell. But he got up again to fight, but then was shot in the head.
According to Wahid, Mahram shared a special bond with the Sikh community. âHe knew his job was very risky. But he liked to do it. He has always respected the Sikh community and its faith. He used to say that all the Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan are his brothers. He used to say that Sikhs are nice, kind people. In fact, he only came home once a week and stayed at the gurdwara the rest of the time. More than his family, he spent time with the Sikhs and served the gurdwara, âhe said.
Wahid says all he wants is for the world to remember his father’s sacrifice and the fact that he never differentiated between people on the basis of religion. âLet the whole world know that he too diedâ¦ doing his duty, while protecting the gurdwara and his Sikh brothers. Terrorists do not know any religion. If it had been so, they would not have shot my father, âhe said.
For now, Mahram’s family will be based in Delhi under the care of the Sikh community in a gurdwara.
âIt would not have been possible for us to leave Afghanistan without the Sikhs who brought our case to the Indian government and we were allowed to board the special flight to Delhi,â he said.
As for returning to Afghanistan, Wahid says that will only happen “if there are better employment and education opportunities.” âAnd above all, security and happiness. My grandfather and my older brother are still in Afghanistan. It is never easy to leave your house, your country … but how to live in fear of death at all times?