Plea for legal entry to persecuted Afghan Sikhs & Hindus

Neela Pandya

WASHINGTON, DC:  The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has made a strong pitch to the Indian government to grant asylum with an option to apply for expedited citizenship to those currently being targeted for their religious belief in Afghanistan.

In a letter written to the Indian PM NarendraModiji, HAF has urged to take all possible actions to address the dire situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan who look to the secular Republic of India a safe haven in the region. The HAF also suggested that the Government of India take the following steps:

Grant legal entry and political asylum to any Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and other persecuted religious minorities currently fleeing Afghanistan with residency visas that last no less than five (5) years and with the option of applying for expedited citizenship;

Ensure that these religious minorities are eligible for government benefits such as physical and mental healthcare, education, economic or business loans, grants and other employment opportunities; and

Provide temporary housing to the refugees.

Furthermore, HAF’s recommendations to Prime Minister Modi is equally consistent with HAF’s position that the CAA should be expanded to include neutral language, specifically “Members of a religious or ethnic minority community who are unable to return to their home countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan, and unable to obtain protection in those countries due to past or well-founded fear of future persecution on account of religion or ethnicity.”

As previously reported, HAF condemned the March 25, 2020 terrorist attack on a Sikh gurdwara in Kabul, Afghanistan that left 25 dead and injured at least 8 others. About 150 people were inside the gurdwara at the time of the attack, including women and children.
In a press briefing on March 26, 2020, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo acknowledged, “Terrorist attacks by ISIS…and al-Qaeda are increasing in the Sahel.”