By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto: The Canada India Foundation (CIF) has urged the country to accept Sikh and Hindu minority communities from Afghanistan as refugees following the killing of 19 Sikhs by an IS suicide bomber in Jalalabad.

“This dastardly act is yet another sign of the continuing victimisation of the religious minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan by fundamentalist Islamist forces,” said CIF chair Ajit Someshwar at the foundation’s weekend gala.

He said Canada should help alleviate the plight of Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan the same way it helped Syrian refugees by giving them asylum in the country.

“Just as Canada took the lead in accepting Syrian refugees, the Canadian government should also allow the members of the minority Sikh and Hindu communities from Afghanistan and Pakistan to immigrate to Canada,” Someshwar said.

At the gala, the foundation conferred the 2018 Global Indian Award on 14-year-old prodigy Sparsh Shah who overcame physical challenges to create worldwide following as a rapper and as a motivation speaker.

The award, which carries $50,000 in cash, had earlier been given to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Ratan Tata, Sam Pitroda and Deepak Chopra.

Suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease, Shah was born with 40 fractures.

Despite 19 screws and two rods in his back and over 130 fractures over his life, the 14-year-old went ahead and became “Rapper Purhythm”, a combination of pure and rhythm.

Shah became a celebrity on the social media for his cover of “Not Afraid” by Eminem, his favourite rapper. The cover garnered over 70 million views combined on all social media platforms.