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110 Sikhs in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan desperately waiting to come to India: SGPC

Twenty-eight Afghan Sikhs, including 26 adults and two children, arrived in Delhi from Kabul on Wednesday as a part of the evacuation plan by the SGPC, the Indian World Forum and the central government.

August 04, 2022 / 08:41 PM IST
A Taliban fighter stands guard at a checkpoint during a snowfall in Kabul, Afghanistan (Image: Reuters)

A Taliban fighter stands guard at a checkpoint during a snowfall in Kabul, Afghanistan (Image: Reuters)

At least 110 Afghan Sikhs in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan are desperately waiting to come to India and 60 of them are yet to get their e-visas, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said on Thursday. Twenty-eight Afghan Sikhs, including 26 adults and two children, arrived in Delhi from Kabul on Wednesday as a part of the evacuation plan by the SGPC, the Indian World Forum and the central government.

The SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, said it has facilitated the accommodation of the evacuees. At least 110 Afghan Sikhs are still stranded in Afghanistan, it said in a statement.

"Twenty-eight Afghan Sikhs have been evacuated on Wednesday and they are currently staying at Gurdwara Sri Guru Arjan Dev at Tilak Nagar. They will be facilitated with accommodation by the Gurdwara committee soon. We are providing all possible assistance from our end," SGPC coordinator Surinder Pal Singh Samana said. He said the evacuees are likely to be rehabilitated by the World Punjabi Organisation, the Sobti foundation and other social organisations.

The Indian World Forum has urged the Centre to issue e-visas to those who are still stranded in Afghanistan and grant a resettlement package to those who have taken refuge in India after the regime change in Kabul last year. "Considering the prevailing circumstances and acute economic hardships faced by Afghan minorities, it is high time that the Centre not only issues them e-visas but also grant them a resettlement package.

The government sending aid to Afghanistan is warmly appreciated but these homeless Hindus and Sikhs across Delhi should be helped with all means," president of Indian World Forum Puneet Chandhok told PTI. He said the evacuees "do not want to migrate" to other countries for citizenship and that the Centre should provide "long-term relief" to them.

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"Canada and US governments continue to offer refugee programnes, but the reality is these evacuees do not want to migrate if the government of India provides them with similar relief. I request PM Modi to consider their demands," Chandhok said.
PTI
first published: Aug 4, 2022 08:41 pm
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