Will facilitate request for ‘permanent settlement’ by Sikhs, Hindus who arrived from Afghanistan as per rules: MEA : The Tribune India

New Delhi, July 30

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said the request of members of Sikh and Hindu communities, who arrived here from Afghanistan earlier this week, for permanent settlement in India would be examined and facilitated as per existing rules and policies.

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also said that apart from those who returned, the ministry was in touch with others who would like to return from Afghanistan and would facilitate their return.

Eleven members of minority communities of Afghanistan, including a Sikh community leader who was kidnapped and later released, arrived here on Sunday after India granted them visas and facilitated their travel.

Nidan Singh Sachdeva, who was released from captivity on July 18, was among those who reached Delhi on Sunday.

Sachdeva, a Sikh community leader of Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Paktia province last month.

Asked if those minorities who arrived from Afghanistan will be granted citizenship, Srivastava said, “I had said last week how there has been a recent spurt of attacks on minorities in Afghanistan, belonging to the Hindu and Sikh communities. I had also described how it has been done by terrorists at the behest of their external supporters.”            

“Our mission in Kabul, despite the COVID situation, facilitated the visas for the return of the first group which arrived here,” Srivastava said.

Their cause for permanent settlement will be examined and facilitated as per existing rules and policies, he said.

Asked about the India-Nepal border issue, he said he has made India’s position clear and there was nothing to add.

Srivastava also said there was no update on the Kerala gold smuggling case.

Asked about Kuwait’s travel ban which includes people coming from India, he said the ban is not specific to Indian nationals and was there as part of restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 situation.

The civil aviation authorities are holding discussions to work out related arrangements at this point in time, Srivastava said. PTI


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