Expedite evacuation, Afghan Sikhs urge government

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 21 June

Following the June 18 attack on Kabul’s Karta Parwan Gurdwara, members of the terror-stricken Afghan minority community have appealed to the Indian authorities to clear pending applications for e-visas and expedite their clearance.

Will give financial support: SGPC

I was told about the poor financial situation and the difficulties they were facing in Afghanistan. We will give financial help to bring them to India. I appeal to the Indian government to help them settle here. Harjinder Singh Dhami, SGPC chief

After coming under Taliban control in August 2021, there were only 167 Sikhs and Hindus left in Afghanistan, of whom five did not have passports.

All had applied for e-visas (emergency visas) in September 2021, but applications from around 100 minority community members were cleared hours after the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacked the Kabul gurdwara. was given. It is learned that 60-year-old Savinder Singh, who was killed during the attack, was among the applicants seeking e-visa to India.

Expressing gratitude to the Government of India for issuing the e-Visa, Gurnam Singh, President of the Gurdwara and Ram Saran Basin, President of the Asami Mandir, Kabul, urged the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). To expedite the evacuation process of Sikhs and Hindus.

According to Gurnam Singh, only 109 e-visas were received, while 58 applications were pending.

“We are grateful to the Indian government for its proactive approach towards the Afghan minorities. Nevertheless, we appeal to the Indian authorities to clear the pending applications for e-Visa. These were all those people who lost their family members in the terror attacks of 2020 and 2022.”

Indian World Forum President Puneet Singh Chandok, who is coordinating with Afghan minorities for the evacuation process, said, “Five members are yet to apply for e-visas in the absence of relevant travel documents from the local authorities.” SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami offered that the airfare of those who want to come to India would be borne by the committee.

Meanwhile, Sikh activists on Tuesday wrote to Taliban leader and caretaker prime minister of Afghanistan, Mohammad Hassan Akhund, expressing concern over linking the Sikh community to derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad.