CHANDIGARH: Amid the unrest in Afghanistan, about 320 Sikhs and Hindus from Kabul, Ghazni, and Jalalabad have taken refuge at Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul.
Among the refugees is Narinder Pal Singh, the only Sikh Member of Parliament in Afghanistan. He is the son of former MP Avtar Singh Khalsa, who was killed along with other Afghan Sikh leaders in a suicide bomb attack in 2018 in Jalalabad.
Talking to The New Indian Express, Narinder Pal Singh said: There are some 320 Sikhs and Hindus (120 families) who have taken refuge in the Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul. As everything is closed here, we are safe in the Gurdwara. However, nobody has contacted us for evacuation. We cannot say anything as the situation is uncertain. There are no flights too. So, we can not even fly out of Afghanistan. But we hope we will be rescued soon."
"As of now we have enough food to survive in the coming days. Let's see what happens. The Taliban have been saying that they will not harm us (Sikhs and Hindus). They have also asked us not to leave the country. We hope they will keep their words," he said.
"Taliban leaders have asked the gurdwara management to put up a white flag outside the shrine to signal that it is under the Taliban protection," said another person, adding that the remaining five Sikh gurdwaras and two Hindu temples in Kabul are closed.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Sirsa said he has urged the Indian Foreign Ministry to rescue these families. He said he was in touch with the Kabul gurdwara committee president Gurnam Singh. "Though the Taliban have assured them of their safety, their evacuation is paramount in such a situation," he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said the government is in touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. In a series of tweets on Monday, Jaishankar wrote, "We are in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. Their welfare will get our priority attention."
He further tweeted, "Given the Kabul situation, important we have accurate information about Indians there. Urge that this be provided by all concerned to the MEA Special Afghanistan Cell at: Phone number: +919717785379 Email: MEAHelpdeskIndia@gmail.com.’’
A few days ago, the World Punjabi Organisation had urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to evacuate Afghan Hindu and Sikh families from Kabul. The international president of the organisation Vikramjit Singh Sahney said it was the need of the hour to bring the Afghan-origin Sikhs and Hindus safely to India as their lives are in grave danger.