Archive for August, 2021

Divya Goyal writes: Even as the Afghan Sikhs find new homes in new countries — and are viewed through the prism of their religion and ties to India — their clothes, language, food and culture all bear a distinct Afghan identity.

As the last batches of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus arrive in India from the Taliban-besieged nation – holding on to memories of the good days while preparing for a refugee’s life in a new country — many have been asserting that ‘We are Afghans’ and not ‘Indians’ or ‘Hindustanis’ as is being perceived.

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Source: The Statesman

“The government’s priority is to safely evacuate the remaining Indians left there and to also ensure the security of Hindus and Sikhs there as well,” the External Affairs Ministry (MEA) reiterated on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will prioritize the visa process for Afghan Hindus and Sikhs under the newly introduced “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” and will be processed quickly so that they can visit India at the earliest, sources said here on Wednesday.

Though the new category of visa has been opened for all Afghan nationals, the government’s move came after reports that over 200 Sikhs have been taking shelter in Gurudwara in Kabul while Hindus are confined to their homes after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15 this year.

The issue was also discussed in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

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Source: India Today

Afghan Sikhs living in Delhi have welcomed the announcement by the Centre on providing emergency visas to Afghan nationals, including Hindus and Sikhs. They hoped that all assistance would be initiated for their safe passage to India.

Afghan Sikhs living in Delhi have welcomed the Indian government’s announcement on providing emergency visas to Afghan nationals fleeing the country after the Taliban took over Kabul. The community also hailed the government’s move to prioritise the evacuation of minority Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan.

“We are happy with the government’s statement that they are in touch with Hindu, Sikh Afghan nationals and are willing to provide help. It would be great if the government could find a way for their safe passage,” said Waryam Singh, an Afghan Sikh living in Delhi.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “As regards to Afghan nationals, our visa services will continue through an e-Emergency visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan nationals. This can be accessed through our e-visa portal at indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration. We have already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders, and are in touch with them.”


Approximately 15,000 Afghan Sikhs live in Delhi after having fled religious persecution in Afghanistan. Their arrival began decades ago and continues to date. A batch was specifically flown in 2020, after threats escalated against Sikh minority.

At the Kabuli Gurudwara in Delhi’s Tilak Nagar, Afghan Sikhs congregate every day to discuss the situation of the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan. The mood is solemn.

“We meet every day and are tense about Sikhs still living in Afghanistan. Everyone has been talking about the fate of those still living there. We are watching the developments and hope that they remain safe,” said Partap Singh, originally from Jalalabad.

At Partap Singh’s office, a team of young men is coordinating a database of Sikhs in Afghanistan and those in desperate need.

While work progressed, a video pinged on their mobile phones. The video was from Kabul. Holed up in a gurdwara in Afghanistan, Sikhs and Hindus were asking for help. The mood at the gurudwara turned serious, and with a solemn resolve, the office-bearers returned to work.


Harbas Kaur sat in silence at the Kabuli Gurudwara office, seeking help. Her husband was killed in a terror attack at a gurdwara in Kabul on March 25, 2020. She now lives in Delhi and is dependent on community ‘sangat’ for assistance.

Young Afghan Sikh men growing up in India are now expecting their citizenship to be formally accepted.

“Paperwork has been slow. Many Sikhs have been given citizenship, we hope the matter will be accelerated. Then we shall be able to apply for jobs, start a proper business and other opportunities will come,” said a young Sikh man.

Many Sikhs have made their home in India after they were targeted by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some also moved to western nations like Germany, Canada and the US.

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