New Delhi: The first batch of Afghan Sikhs who were keen to be in India’s promised facilitation mission arrived in Delhi on Sunday. This is the first batch that includes 11 members in total.
The batch left from Kabul on Sunday. The Indian mission in Kabul shared the information saying,”Travel of some members of the Hindu and Sikh Community, interested in moving to India facilitated.”
The batch includes a Delhi-based Afghan Sikh, Nidan Singh, who was abducted by terrorists and the rest of the ten are families of the Afghan Sikhs who were killed in the Kabul Gurudwara terror attack earlier this year.
More than 25 Afghan Sikhs and One Indian Sikh were killed on the March 25th Gurudwara terror attack in Kabul.
India on July 23 had said that the Indian mission in Kabul is providing the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs visas to come to India, adding that their request for Indian citizenship is also being “examined and acted upon” based on “rules and policies”.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Shrivastava said that the Centre has been receiving requests from these communities that “they want to move to India and settle down here” and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, “we are facilitating the requests”.
India’s move came days after Delhi-based Afghan Sikh Nidan Singh was abducted in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika that borders Pakistan. He was later released. India views the “recent spurt of attacks on Hindus and Sikh community” in Afghanistan by “terrorists at the behest of external supporters”, indicating Pakistan’s involvement.
The wife of kidnapped Afghan Sikh had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting for assistance for the release of her husband and also grant citizenship. Mahrwanti wrote to PM Modi on June 25 saying, “I request you to kindly repatriate him to New Delhi immediately after his release and grant us Indian citizenship at the earliest.”
Singh was kidnapped from Gurdwara Tala Sahib, Chamkani in Afghanistan. He was there to maintain the Gurdwara where according to history Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism had visited. He was the lone person managing and performing community service in the Gurdwara.