Facing threat, Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan awaiting India’s response on asylum pleas
As they are receiving death threats from terror organisations following the attack on historic Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, which killed 27 Sikh devotees on March 25, the Sikh and Hindu families living in Afghanistan are eagerly wanting to be evacuated from the terror-hit country at the earliest and waiting for India’s response on their pleas for asylum.
Talking to HT over phone, Hira Singh, a prominent Afghan Sikh leader who left Afghanistan in 1993 after the civil war and is living in Delhi as a refugee, said several Afghanistan-based organisations, including Hindu-Sikh Welfare Society, Khalsa Diwan Society and managements of gurdwaras, have written to the Indian government seeking asylum and they have also approached Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to take up the matter.
“However, we don’t know the fate of these pleas of Afghan Sikhs. The government’s response is awaited yet,” he added.
In a letter written by managing committee of Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Karte Parwan, Kabul, to Union home minister Amit Shah, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Harsimrat on April 3 through Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), the Afghan Sikhs stated, “The conditions here are very volatile and dangerous. There was another attack on March 25 during the funeral services and explosives were found near the gurdwara. Finally, members of the community received phone calls from anonymous individuals, who claimed to be (belonging to) ISIS and told us to evacuate Afghanistan in 10 days or they will attack again. We have taken this threat very seriously”.
As Afghanistan has planned to evacuate more than 2,500 Afghans stranded in India amid Covid-19 lockdown and charted flights to evacuate them from New Delhi, the Sikhs and Hindus approached Indian embassy in Kabul to send them to India on these flights which would be going empty otherwise.
“Lives of the remaining Hindu and Sikh families are in grave danger and they need to leave Kabul in next 2-3 days because of the threat from ISIS”, reads this letter.
When contacted, Sirsa said, “We are pursuing the matter”.