SGPC: 110 Sikhs in Afghanistan desperate to come to India

At least 110 Afghan Sikhs in Afghanistan are desperately waiting to come to India and 60 of them are yet to get their e-visas, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said Thursday, a day after former cricketer and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Harbhajan Singh sought relocation of Sikhs and Hindus from Taliban-controlled country to India.

“Twenty-eight Afghan Sikhs have been evacuated on Wednesday and are currently staying at Gurdwara Sri Guru Arjan Dev at Tilak Nagar. They will be facilitated with accommodation by the Gurdwara committee soon. We are providing all possible assistance from our end,” SGPC coordinator Surinder Pal Singh Samana said.

He said the evacuees are likely to be rehabilitated by the World Punjabi Organisation, the Sobti Foundation and other social organisations.

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The Indian World Forum has urged the Centre to issue e-visas to those who are still stranded in Afghanistan and grant a resettlement package to those who have taken refuge in India after the regime change in Kabul last year. “Considering the prevailing circumstances and acute economic hardships faced by Afghan minorities, it is high time that the Centre not only issues them e-visas but also grant them a resettlement package. The government sending aid to Afghanistan is warmly appreciated but these homeless Hindus and Sikhs across Delhi should be helped with all means,” president of Indian World Forum Puneet Chandhok told PTI.
He said Canada and US governments continue to offer refugee programnes, “but the reality is these evacuees do not want to migrate if the government of India provides them with similar relief”.

Meanwhile, reacting to Harbhajan’s remarks in Parliament, the BJP Thursday asked Delhi and Punjab Chief Ministers, Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, to apologise for having opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Punjab BJP general secretary Dr Subhash Shrarma said the Centre was already bringing the minority community members from Afghanistan to India. The ‘saroops’ of Guru Granth Sahib were also respectfully brought to India after an attack on the gurdwara there.

He said this was possible only after the enactment of the CAA, which was opposed by Kejriwal, Mann and other AAP leaders. “It is good that you have sought relocation of minority community members from Afghanistan to India, but shouldn’t Kejriwal and Mann apologise to the country for having opposed and maligned the CAA when it was enacted?”

Sharma said the BJP stands vindicated on the issue of CAA after the systematic persecution of the members of Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Without the CAA, such victims of persecution and violence could neither be rehabilitated in India nor could they be granted Indian citizenship. WITH PTI

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