Sikh community leader Nidan Singh Sachdeva released from captivity in Afghanistan
India has welcome the release of Nidan Singh while expressing concern at the continued targeting of religious minorities in Afghanistan.Updated: Jul 18, 2020, 22:21 IST
Nidan Singh Sachdeva, a leader of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan, who was kidnapped in Paktia province on 22 June 2020, was released from captivity followed by efforts made by Afghanistan government and community elders, ministry of external affairs said on Saturday.
While expressing its appreciation for the efforts made for his release, the foreign affairs ministry reiterated its concern over continued targeting of minorities by terrorists at the behest of their “external supporters”.
“We convey our appreciation to the government of Afghanistan and tribal elders from the area, whose efforts secured the return of Nidan Singh. Targeting and persecution of minority community members by terrorists at the behest of their external supporters, remains a matter of grave concern,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tweeted, without explicitly naming Pakistan.
Nedan Singh, a helper at a local gurdwara, was kidnapped by unidentified persons in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan last month leading to a strong condemnation from the Indian government.
The government had since been in touch with authorities in Afghanistan for his release and also to ensure the safety, security and well-being of the minority community in Afghanistan.
The abduction followed the killing of around 30 members of the Sikh community in a terror attack on a place of worship in Kabul on March 25. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State, though Indian officials pointed out the role of Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Afghanistan’s Sikh minority has dwindled to a few hundred families after being targeted by the Taliban and other groups in recent decades. Most of the Sikh minorities in Afghanistan live in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni
Post his abduction, the Afghan Sikh community in the United States had also urged for his release and requested the Indian government to grant them legal entry with long-term residency multiple-entry visa.
In a letter on May 4, Congressman John Garamendi, co-chair of the Sikh Caucus, and 25 others stated that the Sikh community continues to be under “grave” threat from Islamic State terrorist attacks directed at Sikhs.