Archive for November, 2022

Source: Pajhwok Afghan News by Yousuf Zarifi

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The only remaining Sikh in eastern Nangarhar province, Gulcharan Singh, says his love for the country is not letting him migrate elsewhere and has forced him to stay and serve his countrymen.

Singh, 60, a resident of Sherzad district, has been running a Greek medicine shop in Jalalabad city for decades. He says his profession is a family heirloom and he has served his people for decades with great pride.

After the fall of former president Dr. Najibullah’s government, he recalled, Sikhs started leaving Afghanistan. Only 45 families out of 10,000 families remained in Nangarhar until recently.

He said a new wave of Sikhs migration began after the recent political change, but after the Daesh-claimed attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul, many Sikh families left Nangarhar, Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.

Singh said out of the 45 families, his family was the only one remaining in Nangarhar and all other Sikh families left Afghanistan and handed over their businesses to their pupils.

He said the Sikhs started leaving Afghanistan after the collapse of Dr. Najib’s government. “Their children got education abroad. They have either sold their properties here or people have seized them.”

Singh said he faced no problem in the current government and the governor of Nangarhar and some other security officials had repeatedly visited him and assured him of all kind of cooperation and security.

He added: “The governor himself came, the director of intelligence came. They gave me their phone numbers and said to contact them if I faced any problem from anyone.”

Gulcharan Singh’s children, like other Afghan Sikhs, are in India where they received education. One of his sons, who is a doctor, runs a small hospital in India.

“Anderpal Singh is my eldest son, my second son is Sandeep Singh who is also a doctor, my third son is a computer science graduate and the fourth is a 12th grader.”

The only Afghan Sikh left in Nangarhar says he could live a comfortable life in India where his children reside “But my heart is attached to Afghanistan and I don’t enjoy living there (India)”.

“We are Afghans and familiar with the climate of Afghanistan. I fall sick wherever I go to India. My heart is happy here, otherwise my business is very good there.”

Gulcharan Singh said still many people in Nangarhar used Greek medicine for treatment and with it his business was running

He hoped that one day the situation in the country would improve and the exiled Afghan Sikhs would return to Afghanistan.

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Source: Business Standard (Press Trust of India)

The Centre on Monday decided to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and currently living in two districts of Gujarat under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The move to grant citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and not the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) bears significance.

The CAA also provides for granting Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but as the rules under the Act have not been framed by the government yet, no one so far could be granted citizenship under it.

According to a Union home ministry notification, those Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians residing in the districts of Anand and Mehsana in Gujarat will be allowed registration as a citizen of India under section 5 or will be granted certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009.

Such people living in the two districts of Gujarat have to submit their applications online which will then be verified by the collector at the district level. The application and reports thereon shall be simultaneously made accessible online to the central government, the notification read.

The collector may make such inquiry as he considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant and for that purpose forwards the application online to such agencies for verification and comments as may be required for completing such an inquiry, it said.

After completing the entire process, the collector, being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, grants him or her the citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation and issues a certificate of registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, the notification said.

The Narendra Modi government wants to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians — from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who had come to India till December 31, 2014.

There were massive protests in some parts of the country after the CAA was passed by Parliament in December 2019 and the subsequent presidential nod. Over a hundred people lost their lives during the protests.

However, the CAA has not been implemented so far as rules under it are yet to be framed.

According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, the rules for any legislation should have been framed within six months of presidential assent or seek extension from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

In January 2020, the home ministry notified that the Act would come into force from January 10, 2020, but it later requested the parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to give it some more time to implement rules as the country was going through its worst ever health crisis due to the Covid pandemic.

Last fortnight, the Union home ministry had been granted yet another extension by the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules of the CAA.

While the permission has been granted from the Rajya Sabha till December 31, 2022, the Lok Sabha has granted time till January 9, 2023.

This was the seventh extension given to the home ministry to frame the rules under the CAA.

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