Archive for June, 2004

New Delhi, June 20 (ANI):

As the world observes Refugees Day on Friday, a group of Afghan Sikhs here say that their life has not improved despite fleeing the war-ravaged country.
Mahendra Singh and his family fled Kabul before the Taliban regime was overthrown by the Northern Alliance.

“My whole family is here now. Most people are also here. There are just war and battles there, people only die,” Singh said. Another refugee said they were leading a life of misery as jobs were hard to get.

“There is no work for us here. I had an accident in 1996 and since then I couldn’t work also. Our lives are really very miserable here,” said Gurbachan Singh.

Sikhs here said they were trying their best to help the refugees. “Our people have come from there (Afghanistan) and our society has helped them a lot in settling down, in educating them and giving them opportunity to find a livelihood. We are helping them in that way,” said Manohar Singh, president of Khalsa Diwan Welfare Society.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),there are more than 12,000 Afghan refugees in India. Nearly 74 percent of them are Afghans of Indian origin–Hindus or Sikhs–while the rest are ethnic Afghans.

But human rights activists peg the number of Afghan refugees in India closer to 30,000.

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