Delhi Gurdwaras offer shelter to 200 Sikh families brought back from Afghanistan
Decision to rescue the Sikh community from Afghanistan was taken following a terror attack at a Gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar in which 25 members of Sikh community were killed
Delhi-based Gurdwaras have provided shelter to almost 200 families belonging to Sikh Community rescued and brought to India from Afghanistan who were facing religious persecution in the Islamist country.
An ANI report carried by Business World has said all the lodging and boarding costs of these families have been borne by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).
DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that the whole cost will be borne by the committee. He said, “Close to 200 families have come here and are staying in Gurudwaras. We are making the arrangements for their accommodation and ticket as well till the time they do not get permanent citizenship. We are also providing them assistance in employment as well.”
He also expressed his gratitude towards Union Home Minister Amit Shah for providing visas to these families. “Home Minister Amit Shah Ji from Day 1 gave the assurance that they can stay here for as long as they want and if they want to be permanent citizens of India, we would make them permanent citizens as well,” he said.
Harjit Singh Bedi, the Chief VC of Gurdwara Moti Bagh which has accommodated around 131 people said they are also planning to enrol the children to Guru Harkrishan Public Schools also run by the DSGMC.
“There are 138 persons in 31 rooms living over here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities to live. We will also try to have the children enrolled in Guru Harkishan Public Schools and will teach them free of cost if the need arises,” he said.
He also said they are also planning to find some employment opportunities for them however their priority is to make them feel emotionally secure.
The decision to rescue the Sikh community from Afghanistan was taken following a terror attack at a Gurudwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar in March.
After the attack, the leaders of Afghan Sikh community had appealed to the Indian government to facilitate the entry of Sikhs and Hindus facing persecution in Afghanistan into the Indian subcontinent.
The Ministry of External Affairs recently announced that India has decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan to India.
Balbir Singh, a 63-year old member of the Sikh community who was brought to India, said, “We left everything including our houses. I had a clothes store. Our lives were in danger but now, we feel safe here.”
Once a strong community of over 2,50,000 people, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan is now estimated to be fewer than 100 families.