Afghan Sikhs, Hindus sheltering at Kabul gurdwara return home | India News

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AMBALA: Most Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who were sheltering at Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita at Karta-E-Parwan, near Kabul, for the last two weeks have returned to their hometowns in Afghanistan and have started reopening their businesses. A few families, however, are still at the gurdwara.
This comes amid reports of Taliban spokesperson Zahebullah Mujahid saying that a group of 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who were prevented from reaching the Kabul airport may be allowed to leave the country.
A Kabul-based Sikh, who runs a cosmetics shop, said, “Nearly 40 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus run shops and busine- sses in Kabul. They have started returning to work. My brother has a wholesale business of medicines with Indian pharma firms and is back at work. Taliban commanders have assured us of safety and asked us to start work. So we have opened our shops for now.”
An Afghan Hindu said they had opened shops but there was hardly any work. “We sit for some hours and return home as there are few customers. People are also afraid to come out of their homes,” he said. An owner of a cosmetics shop hoped “work could gain pace with time”.
There is also a glimmer of hope for Hindus and Sikhs who were looking to travel to India. “There is a ray of hope that they will be able to come to India as Zahebullah Mujahid, the official spokesperson for Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in an interview to Pajhwok Afghan News Agency, has conveyed the assent of his government for departure of Afghan Hindu and Sikh pilgrims to India with valid travel documents and assured his support,” Indian World Forum president Puneet Singh Chandhok told TOI.
He said there should be some clarity by the end of this week on when Afghan Sikhs and Hindus would be able to leave for Delhi. “We have to wait for the situation at Kabul airport to normalise as the Taliban hand over the operations of the airport to Turkey and Qatar after the US leave,” he said. “Taliban representative Bilal Karimi assured us that the rights of the religious minorities would be protected. He said Sikhs are part of their culture and their hum-vatan (fellow countrymen),” Chadok added.
He said India’s ministry of external affairs was also in constant touch with the heads of gurdwaras in Afghanistan.
With inputs from Delhi

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