First batch of 11 Afghan Sikhs arrive, say atmosphere of fear prevails there

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By Joymala Bagchi New Delhi [India], July 26 (ANI): The first batch of eleven members of the minuscule Sikh community from Afghanistan, who have been facing persecution at the hands of Pakistan backed Taliban, arrived in India at 1:20 pm on Sunday in a special flight facilitated by the Government of India. The group has four children, one minor girl, three women, and three men. Significantly, among other repatriates includes 60 years old Delhi based Sikh Nidan Singh Sachdeva and 16 years old Sunmeet Kaur who were kidnapped by terrorists there and was later rescued by security agencies. While speaking to ANI, Sachdeva told, "I am more than thankful to the Government of India for bringing us here. I have no words to describe my feelings here. I could arrive here after much struggle. An atmosphere of fear prevails over there. The gurdwara is where we can be safe but a step outside Gurdwara is fearful." The repatriation process was immediately initiated by the Indian Government after perturbing reports of rampant security threats, human rights violations, and decimated on the minority communities surfaced. "We want peace and earn a livelihood. My mother and brother are still there. I request the government to bring them as well. The situation is bad there. All of us are being pressurised by them for conversions," said Balender Singh. Approximately 700 Hindu and Sikhs Afghan Nationals have registered with Embassy of India in Kabul and are seeking an immediate return to India. India is facilitating the entire process of returning of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan and extended a helping hand despite the ongoing pandemic. They will stay at the guest house of Rakabgunj Gurdwara looked after the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara management committee. (ANI)