MEA facilitates travel of 11 Sikhs, Hindus from Afghanistan to India

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New Delhi, Jul 26 (PTI) Around 11 members of minority communities of Afghanistan, including a Sikh community leader who was kidnapped and later released, arrived here on Sunday after India granted them visas and facilitated their travel.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Nidan Singh Sachdeva, who was released from captivity on July 18, is among those who reached Delhi on Sunday.

Sachdeva, a Sikh community leader of Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Paktia province last month.

'Around 11 members, belonging to the Sikh and Hindu minority community of Afghanistan, arrived in India today,' the MEA said in a statement.

India has granted appropriate visa and facilitated their travel to India, it said.

'We appreciate the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in extending necessary support for the safe return of these families,' the MEA said.

Asked how India is facilitating Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan wanting to come and were there any plans to give them citizenship, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had last week said, 'There has been a recent spurt of attacks on the Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan and these attacks have been done by terrorists at the behest of their external supporters.' 'We have been receiving requests from the members of these communities. They want to move to India, they want to settle down here, and despite the ongoing COVID situation, we are facilitating these requests,' he had said at a weekly briefing.

The Indian Embassy in Kabul is providing them necessary visas to come here and once they reach here, their requests will be examined and acted upon based on existing rules and policies, Srivastava had said. PTI ASK SMN SMN