25 Sikh families from Afghanistan seek Indian citizenship
As many as 25 Sikh families from Afghanistan have urged the Congress-led Punjab government to provide them Indian citizenship and give houses to stay as they are unable to fulfill their daily requirements.
Currently residing in Ludhiana, these families apparently came back to India from Kabul in Afghanistan a few years ago after they were “continuously” forced to convert to Islam.
“In total we were 40 families, which came back to India. Now only 25 are left. I had four children, but one of my daughters died some time ago as she didn’t get proper medical help,” Simmi Singh, one of the members of the 25 families, told ANI.
Simmi is currently forced to earn a living for his family by riding an auto rickshaw.
“I was running my own business in Afghanistan. However, the people there always forced me and my family to become Muslims. Not just that, we were even asked to handover the female members of our families to them. That’s why I came back to India,” he said.
Simmi’s wife Meena Kumari said she and their daughters “never felt safe in Afghanistan.”
“There are days when we eat food in a Gurudwara. However, we are happy here and will die in India only,” she said.
Not just them, similar is the situation for Kulwant Kaur, who is a widow and lives with her two children in Ludhiana.
Kulwant’s husband was apparently killed by militants in Afghanistan.
“That incident really shocked me and my children. That triggered us to come back to India. However, we never thought that it would be so difficult for us to start a new life here,” Kulwant told ANI.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is playing a helping hand to these families in providing them food.
“These families came to us a few years ago. We helped them financially. SGPC can provide education to the children belonging to these families. However, it’s not just our responsibility as the central and the state government also need to intervene in the matter and help them,” former president of SGPC, Avtar Singh Makkad told ANI.
On July 1, a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan’s Jalalabad city killed at least 19 people, mostly Sikhs and Hindus. The deceased included Avtar Singh, the only Sikh candidate for the Afghan parliament.
The bombing rattled the Sikh community all over the world. Special prayers and ‘ardas’ were organised in gurudwaras.
According to various media reports, some members of the minority Sikh community in Afghanistan, are mulling to move to neighbouring India after the deadly attack.