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Afghan Sikhs In Airless Container 'For 18 Hours'


Afghanistan's 3,000-member Sikh community has endured a long history of religious discrimination and harassment.

The translator of Sikh families found in a shipping container in Britain says they were trapped in darkness without fresh air for 18 hours.

The group of Afghan Sikhs arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex, a port east of London, on August 16 on a ship from Belgium.

One man was found dead and the other 34 survivors, including 13 children, suffered dehydration and hypothermia.

Kamaljit Singh Mataharu, a translator used by police, told ITV News television that there were 15 families inside, all from Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, who had made it to Europe in a truck.

He said the group was fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's 3,000-member Sikh community has endured a long history of religious discrimination and harassment.

The Home Office said all 34 survivors were in the process of claiming asylum in Britain.

Based on reporting by AFP and theguardian.com

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