NEW DELHI: At least 30 Afghan Sikhs including children and infants, fleeing from the Taliban are scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Wednesday as religious persecution escalates in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
A non-scheduled commercial flight from Kabul, operated by Kam Air is set to arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. After their arrival, the entire group will leave for Gurdwara Sri Guru Arjan Dev in Tilak Nagar of the national capital, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said.
Religious minorities in Afghanistan, including the Sikh community, have been repeated targets of violence in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country. SGPC in coordination with the Indian World Forum and the Government of India are evacuating distressed Afghan minorities - Hindus and Sikhs.
On July 14, a total of 21 Afghan Sikhs, including an infant, were evacuated from Kabul to New Delhi on Kam Air, the largest private Afghan airline. Over the past month, 32 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
There were about 700 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan in 2020, but a large number of them left the country following the Taliban's takeover on August 15, 2021.
It is pertinent to mention that 110 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs are still remaining in Afghanistan and there are 61 e-visa applications pending with the Government of India for issuance.SGPC provides humanitarian assistance to Afghan minorities by paying for their airfare.
SGPC will also provide aid to legitimate persons seeking rehabilitation in India. They are likely to be rehabilitated by World Punjabi Organisation, Sobti Foundation and other social organisations.
There were a spate of attack on Sikhs in Afghanistan recently. On June 18 this year, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacked Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul which claimed the lives of about 50 people. In October, last year 15 to 20 terrorists entered a Gurdwara in the Kart-e-Parwan District of Kabul and tied up the guards.
In March 2020, a deadly attack took place at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Gurudwara in Kabul's Short Bazaar area in which 27 Sikhs were killed and several were injured. Islamic State terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack.