Archive for February, 2023

Read Full Post »


New Delhi: 51-year-old Gurpreet Sahni (name changed) arrived in Delhi last August. He was part of a batch of 30 Afghan Sikhs who were evacuated two months following a terrorist attack on one of Kabul’s largest gurdwaras that killed two. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had then written to the community, condemning the attack and paving the way for their evacuation to India.

However, after six months and an expired e-visa, Sahni is prepared to return to Afghanistan.

“If I don’t get a Canadian visa within the next few months, I’ll go back to Kabul and find a job there. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) process also does not seem like an option. There’s no point waiting here,” he told ThePrint, sipping tea and looking wistfully out the window of his 3-BHK apartment in Tilak Nagar. 

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, offers a pathway of citizenship for persecuted religious minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, it only applies to those who arrived in India before 31 December 2014. Therefore, Afghan Sikhs fleeing the recent Taliban takeover haven’t been able to pursue Indian citizenship under this law. 

Sahini explained that he was finding it increasingly difficult to support his six children, wife and sister-in-law, especially after all their e-visas expired in December 2022. He is one of about 350 Afghan Sikhs in India who are waiting for visas to Canada.

According to Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Vikramjit Singh Sahney, an estimated 120 Afghan Sikhs, who took refuge in India, are now in Canada. About 17 have gone to the US.

Sahney, who is helping the refugees in India, said those who reached Canada are part of a programme under which the Canadian government has offered to cover house rent and provide monthly stipends of Rs 1.2 lakh (Can$ 2,000) to adults of the household for one year.

Sahney has been helping the refugees in India alongside the heads of two gurdwaras in Delhi. Chabol Singh, 57, an Afghan Sikh living in India for over two decades, is the main coordinator for the refugees.

Chabol Singh, 57, an Afghan Sikh living in Delhi for over two decades, is coordinating the journey of refugees to Canada | ThePrint

Read Full Post »