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Concerned of rising Islamic State, Afghan Hindus and Sikhs start shifting to India

Last Updated on July 27, 2020 at 6:41 pm

Jammu, July 27: At least eleven members of the minority Hindu and Sikh community have arrived in India, fearing terrorism and targeted killing at the hands of Islamic State and other groups in Afghanistan.

The group arrived at New Delhi International Airport on Sunday as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) facilitated their return from the terror hit country. The group came from Kabul.

A leader of the community Nidan Singh Sachdeva who was recently abducted by Taliban and was released later has also come to the country along with the group. Kidnappings and targeted killings of minority Hindus and Sikhs is a common practice in Afghanistan.

In an official statement, MEA said that the return of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs to India was facilitated by the Indian mission in Kabul after an increased threat to the minorities in Afghanistan. Sachdeva was abducted in Paktia province of the country last month.

The group was brought in a Kam Air flight on Sunday that also included those Indian citizens who were stranded in Afghanistan owing to outbreak of Covid-19 months ago.

Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the group of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs at the airport. Adesh Gupta a leader of Delhi BJP said that those Hindus and Sikhs who are being continuously targeted in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan can now come to India and get citizenship.

“As per the newly formed CAA, the minorities living in the neighboring countries of Indian can apply for citizenship and they will be granted the same with ease” said Gupta.

There have been thousands of cases of abductions, killing and forced conversion and marriage of Hindu and Sikh women in Pakistan. Minorities of Afghanistan and Pakistan have appreciated the step taken by the Government of India to allow them to apply for citizenship of the country. However the government of Pakistan has criticized CAA.

MEA in a statement said,  “We appreciate the efforts of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in extending necessary support for the safe return of these families,”.

A Sikh Gurudwara was targeted by Islamic ultras recently in which at least 25 people were killed and several others injured. The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State. However Indian intelligence believes that the Sikh Gurudwara was attacked on orders of ISI, Pakistani intelligence agency through Lashker-e-Taiba.

Most of the returnees from Afghanistan had lost their relatives in the attack of the Sikh Gurudwara. Some girls who were abducted in Afghanistan were among the group that reached India. There are not more than 1300 Hindus and Sikhs left in Afghanistan, a country where there were nearly 2.50 lakh members of minority in 1980s.