India accepts Afghan Sikhs fleeing Taliban terror 'less than 100 remain'
India accepts Afghan Sikhs fleeing Taliban terror 'less than 100 remain'

Afghanistan: Manmohan Singh spends most of his time at a gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship in New Delhi, the capital of India.
A 45-year-old Afghan refugee fled Kabul with his wife and five children last month, weeks after a deadly explosion and gunfire broke out near their home at a gurdwara.

Unsure about his future and jobless, Manmohan's thoughts are constantly preoccupied with what to do and how to settle down in a foreign land.

"I can see nothing but darkness around me," he said, "but the one thing that keeps me going is the hope that things will get better in the days to come." "However, if you ask me how, I don't know."

Manmohan earned US$140 a month working in a traditional Islamic medicine (Greek) shop in Kabul. However, he has not earned any income since moving to India.

"It's been over a month since we arrived, and I still can't find work anywhere." "Who Will Hire Me If I Don't Have a College Diploma?" He said that he does not speak Hindi or English. He is fluent in Punjabi, Persian and Pashto.

Sikh community in Afghanistan

Manmohan and his family are looked after by the local Gurdwara Samiti in Tilak Nagar, a neighborhood west of New Delhi. Both accommodation and food have been arranged.

The Afghan Sikh community, which first came to India in the 1990s, manages and runs the gurdwara. Sikhism, which originated in the 15th century in Punjab, now divided between India and Pakistan, has also existed in Afghanistan for hundreds of years, ever since Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, visited Kabul.

According to the UNHCR, about 11,000 Afghans have registered as asylum seekers in India, most of whom live near the capital.

The influx from Afghanistan began in 1979 with the start of the 10-year Soviet-Afghan War. The US withdrew its forces last year and the Taliban took control of the country.

Initially, it was the minorities in Afghanistan – Hindus and Sikhs – who fled India for safety, but as the conflict in Afghanistan worsened, following the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001, more ethnic Afghans also fled India. Went.

Manmohan does not like to remember what happened on June 18 this year, but the events of that day keep flashing in his mind. He was at home when ISIS terrorists attacked a nearby gurdwara. He managed to escape with his family, but the attack killed two people - a Sikh and a Muslim security guard - and injured seven others.

"When we heard gunshots, we got scared and ran to safety." When we returned to the site the scenery was appalling. The floor of the Gurudwara was covered in blood. My children were crying, and the terror was clear."
The Singh family is shocked by the attack. He decided to leave quickly.

Other Afghan Sikhs struggling in India's capital have found a new home in the gurdwara.
The head of the gurdwara, Pratap Singh, an Afghan refugee who arrived in New Delhi 30 years ago, said that at least 75 Afghan Sikhs and one Hindu have migrated to the city since the Taliban came to power last year.
Some have found work, but many are struggling.

When Mahinder Singh, 31, and his elder brother Ranjit, 34, fled India from Jalalabad city in eastern Afghanistan, they left behind their two cosmetic and herbal shops and ended up at a gurdwara in New Delhi's Tilak Nagar area.

“We were doing well financially, but circumstances forced us to leave our country,” explained Mahinder, who is unmarried. "It was an unfortunate time for all of us to leave everything behind, including our homes, businesses, religious places and neighbours."

In 2018, an explosion in Jalalabad killed at least 14 people and injured many, including Mahinder. Even though he only suffered minor injuries, it was a warning that his home was not safe.

However, he stayed until the June attack on the Kabul Gurdwara. At the time, his family sought assistance from the Afghan Sikh community in India, which helped him with visas and tickets; They left Afghanistan on 3 August.

It was difficult for him to leave his country. Mahindra boarded the flight from Kabul to New Delhi crying.
"I'm not sure if we'll ever be able to come back," he said, but he hopes "life gives us better opportunities here so we don't miss our home."
His mother, his brother's wife and their two children are currently living in the same gurudwara. None of them are currently operational.

Minorities have less freedom

Religious freedoms in Afghanistan have deteriorated since the Taliban took control in August of last year.
During the 1980s, the country's Sikh and Hindu population was estimated to be over 200,000. According to a 2016 investigation by TV news channel Tolonews, that number had dropped to just 1350, and it has since dwindled further as more attacks have occurred.

There were reportedly 300 Sikhs before the Taliban took over. According to Sikh community members in New Delhi, there are now approximately 70 Sikhs and approximately 30 Hindus in Afghanistan.

Human Rights Watch's South Asia director, Meenakshi Ganguly, said "ugly majoritarianism" was on the rise in many parts of the world, "often fueled by bigoted political ideologies that incite hatred against ethnic or religious minorities, leaving them vulnerable to attack."

Although life in New Delhi is and will be different for both newly arrived Singh families, they have found a safe home and their children can attend school. They couldn't do so in Kabul because they were "bullied," according to Mahinder.

"We don't want that to happen to our children and grandchildren," he added. "I want our children to go to school."
Pratap, the Gurdwara head in New Delhi, is concerned that the increasing attacks on minorities in Afghanistan will force the few to flee.

According to media reports, the Indian government is currently processing at least 61 e-visa applications for Afghan minorities.
"As soon as they get their visas, they'll come here," Pratap said.
His community has petitioned the Indian government to provide jobs, housing, and free education to Afghan Sikh refugees.

"India is the true home for Sikhs and Hindus," he added. "Because Afghanistan was once a part of India, our forefathers were Indian." We are not strangers in this place."

Taliban claims that its fighters were killed in a clash with Pakistani troops over border post

Online shopping services closed under Taliban rule, Afg reeling under severe financial crisis

US and Allies Disapprove of the Normalization of the Situation in Afghanistan

Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News