Monday 30 August 2021 8:29 AM UTC
Representational Image: A book on Afghan Hindu and Sikh
KABUL Aug 30: More than 250 Afghans belonging to a minority communities of Sikh and Hindu, who have connections in India, have been holed up in a Sikh shrine just seven km from the international airport in Kabul and are desperately awaiting their evacuation to a Western nation.
For them India is not the preferred destination as a refugee. The reason: they believe it took years and years to procure the Indian citizenship. Also, there is too much red tapism while procuring government documents like a passport and an Aadhaar card.
They are praying to enter a Western nation as a refugee where they are hoping to live a dignified life. They comprise dozens of women and children.
For decades, the Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan have been victims of discrimination, terror, violence, and persecution at the hands of extremists. The proof is in the mass exodus of a proud community that once numbered over 100,000 to now being dwindled to less than 700, said the humanitarian organization.
Any Afghan citizen wishing to escape persecution must obtain a passport. To facilitate this resettlement, the United Sikhs has been requested by those on the ground as well as by multiple Afghan Sikh advocates to undertake the responsibility of passports for 356 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in 2020. In 2018 after the Jalalabad bombing that left 12 Sikh leaders dead, the global advocacy presented before the 39th session of the Human Rights Council the plight of the Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan.
In 2019, the Permanent Missions to the UN were urged to address the continuing threats to the safety of the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. Later in 2019 a petition was filed in the Canadian Parliament seeking safe passage.
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