NEW DELHI: Close to 200 families belonging to the Sikh Community who have arrived here from Afghanistan have been put up at Gurudwaras that are run by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
“Close to 200 families have come here and are staying in Gurudwaras. We are making the arrangements for their accommodation and ticket as well till the time they do not get permanent citizenship. We are also providing them assistance in employment as well,” Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa told ANI.
He added that all the cost would be borne by the management committee. He also thanked the Central government, particularly Home Minister Amit Shah for facilitating visas for these families.
“Home Minister Amit Shah Ji from Day 1 gave the assurance that they can stay here for as long as they want and if they want to be permanent citizens of India, we would make them permanent citizens as well,” he added.
“There are 138 persons in 31 rooms living over here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities to live. We will also try to have the children enrolled in Guru Harkishan Public Schools and will teach them free of cost if the need arises,” Harjit S Bedi, Chief VC, Gurudwara, Motibagh said while speaking to ANI.
Bedi further said that the persons could stay in the gurudwara for as long as they need to. “In the case of earning bread and butter, they need to be emotionally secure. In the case of residential, they are secure over here,” he added.
63-year-old Balbir Singh, a resident in Afghanistan, one of the Sikhs who along with his family were brought here by the Government of India, from Afghanistan over the attacks faced by minorities in the country, said that he was grateful to the gurudwara for looking after him and his family.
“We are very thankful to them. They provided us with everything and ensured that we did not face any shortage of anything,” he said while speaking to ANI.
“We left everything including our houses–I had a clothes store. Our lives were in danger but now, we feel safe here,” he added.
Ministry of External Affairs recently announced that India has decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan to India.
The decision comes after a terror attack at a gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar in March killed at least 25 members of the community.
India has condemned the “targeting and persecution” of minority community members by terrorists in Afghanistan at the behest of their external supporters remains a matter of grave concern.
Leaders of the Afghan Sikh community have appealed to the Indian government to accommodate the Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan and grant them legal entry with long term residency multiple entry visas.
Once a community of nearly 250,000 people, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan has endured years of discrimination and violence from extremists, and the community is now estimated to comprise fewer than 100 families across the country. (ANI)