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Arrival of Afghan Sikhs, Hindus deferred



Amritsar: The evacuation of nearly 180 Hindu and Sikhs from Afghanistan has been deferred. As per the previous plan, they were likely to fly from Kabul to Delhi on Wednesday.

A Kabul-based Sikh leader who didn’t wish to give his name said late on Monday evening, they were conveyed that their flight to Delhi, scheduled for Wednesday, had been put off for a week or so.

“I don’t think there could be any other reason for the postponement of the flight other than security concerns,” he said.

Following militant attack on Gurdwara Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib, Kabul on April 25 which left 25 Sikh men, women and children dead, the miniscule community of Afghanistan wanted to leave the country and migrate to India. Many of them have already been sponsored to stay in Canada.

Confirming that Afghan Sikh and Hindus were not arriving on Wednesday, president of Afghan Sikh Hindu Welfare Society Khajinder Singh said there were certain formalities which required to be completed. However, he didn’t elaborate about the required formalities.

Intelligence sources here said, “Nobody want to make much hullabaloo about Afghan Sikhs and Hindus leaving the country as it could expose them to further attacks by militants.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of Afghan Sikhs met acting jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh urging his intervention in getting them Indian citizenship. Survir Singh, an Afghani Sikh, said he had been living in India for past nearly two decades but he was still an Afghan national.

He said none of the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, who had migrated to India fearing attacks by Islamist fundamentalists, wanted to go back. “We have our businesses here, our children have grown up, all we need is now Indian citizenship,” he said, adding that Indian government had offered Afghan Sikhs and Hindus to use Citizenship Amendment Act to obtain Indian citizenship but none of the Afghan Hindu or Sikhs had got the Indian citizenship so far.

He said the acting jathedar had assured to take up the issue with Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to further raise the same with the Center.

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