Afghanistan which comprised a substantial population of Hindus and Sikhs till a few decades back, not to speak of earlier than that, started getting shrunk and decimated due to abductions, holding to ransom, killings and other measures of persecution heaped on them at the hands of the terror and extreme fundamentalist groups active in that country. Most of them steadily continued to leave that country and get succour and refuge in India. Even with the popular Government in power in Afghanistan, there has been no change on the ground and the minorities are exposed to greater vulnerabilities of hate and persecution. Only a few days back, eleven members of Sikh and Hindu communities including a Sikh community leader, arrived in the national capital after visas were granted to them which facilitated their travel from their motherland Afghanistan to India. The Sikh leader Nidhan Singh Sachdeva who was abducted by terrorists last month in Paktia province, was released by them on July 18. Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed and issued a statement in this context.
However, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan duly realising the extreme conditions due to religious factor that the minority communities were facing in that country, facilitated the travel of these harassed families and they arrived in the country. The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that during last few weeks, there has been a spurt in attacks on Hindu and Sikh community members in Afghanistan. These attacks, as reliably learnt, have been carried out against the innocent indigenous inhabitant Hindus and Sikhs by the terrorists supported by and at the behest of their external supporters. These victims of persecution have been looking towards India with a lot of hope and ultimately settle in this country and the Indian Government, despite and during the COVID crisis, continues to receive such requests from the persecuted Hindu and Sikh communities from Afghanistan.
Needless to add, since an attack by ISI terrorists killing 25 Sikhs at a Gurdwara in Kabul three months back this year, the frightened Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan have been making repeated appeals to the Indian Government for facilitating their earliest flight from that country to save their lives and honour, leaving behind fortunes of whatever extent raised by them by dint of their hard work and enterprise. It is said that human beings must be kind and compassionate to fellow human beings at times of death and associated grief. Not to speak of that, their dead bodies too have not been generally ‘allowed’ to be cremated. Even after taking ransom money from the abducted members of these communities, they are not safe there , their rights and traditions are denied to them, least any type of religious freedom is allowed to be exercised by these communities. After one attack and the other, these people of the two communities now numbering less than 1000 in all, spend their hours dreading the next attack. Where else these members of Afghan Hindu and Sikh communities would go except to India hence their arrival here.
Not only Taliban terror groups but after the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan by America nearly after two decades of their deployment , ISI terror groups have joined their Talibani ‘colleagues’ to create among other things, conditions for these minorities more difficult as the policy of the dreaded ISI terrorists towards religious minorities is well known. Ultimately, these uprooted members of the Hindu and Sikh communities, after a long visa stay in this country, shall be applying for the Indian citizenship and the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which has provisions for persecuted communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan shall come handy for these victimised people.