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Abducted Sikh leader Nidan Singh released in Afghanistan, Indian government expresses appreciation to the Afghan leadership

He was abducted a month ago from a gurudwara in the Pakita province of Afghanistan and got released on Saturday

India has thanked the Afghan leadership for its efforts in facilitating the release of 55-year-old Nidan Singh Sachdeva, an Afghan Sikh community leader. He was abducted a month ago from a gurudwara in the Pakita province of Afghanistan and got released on Saturday. Anurag Sachdeva, spokesperson Ministry of External Affairs expressed appreciation to the Afghan leadership, security forces and tribal elders.

The Indian government has hinted that if he applies for Indian citizenship under Citizen Amendment Act, the government will process the request. Sachdeva moved to India in the 1990s with his family and is eligible for Indian citizenship. He is currently living in Delhi on a long-term visa and often returns to Afghanistan. He was at the Thala Sri Guru Nanak Sahib gurdwara in Chamkani district at the time of abduction on 22nd June.

Wife’s appeal to PM

His wife wrote a letter to PM Modi on 25th June asking for help in his release. She said in her letter, “Paktia is an epicentre of Taliban insurgency and in the past has been a safe haven for militants from the Haqqani network… we apprehend that a militant organization may have abducted him”. She added that minorities living in Afghanistan are facing severe atrocities, and there is no guarantee of their safety.

Indian Express quoted Jasmeet Singh, son of Sachdeva saying, “We want his return to Delhi at the earliest. In videos we received, he can be heard saying he was tortured in captivity. We will get to know more details only after we speak to him.”

MEA criticises Pakistan for supporting terrorists

In its statement, MEA said that they are concerned about the targeting and persecution of minority community members by terrorists at the “behest of their external supporters” without mentioning Pakistan. The MEA further added that India has recently decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members to India who are facing security threats in Afghanistan.

In a video after his release, he thanked Afghanistan security forces and members of Sikh and Hindu community for their efforts. He alleged that he was tortured in captivity. Chhabol Singh, member, managing committee, Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Singh Sabha Karte Parwan, Kabul said in a statement that Sachdeva is still in Chamkani. The details about his release will be clear once he is back to Kabul.

Previous attack on Gurudwara in Kabul claimed 25 lives

On 25th March, 25 people were killed and 15 injured in a heinous attack on Gurudwara in Kabul. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) which is an arm of Islamic State (IS) in Pakistan and Afghanistan was behind the attack. Indian Intelligence hinted additional role of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani Network in the attack.

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