Murkier details into the abduction of a Sikh man from Afghanistan have surfaced, suggesting that the kidnapping might be the handiwork of local land mafia and not Taliban as previously alleged, says a report published in Indian Express.
The involvement of a local land mafia was alleged by the family of the Sikh man who was abducted by armed men from Thala Sri Guru Nanak Sahib gurdwara in Chamkani district of Afghanistan in Paktia province near the Pakistan border,
The kidnapped man, Nidan Singh Sachdeva (55), was an Afghan national living in Delhi over a Long Term Visa, was on a visit to Afghanistan in March to perform sewa at gurdwara and participate in the annual fair. As per his family’s account, he was abducted by ‘armed men’ from the gurdwara on the night of June 17 and since then they have no idea about his whereabouts.
Worrying about the fate of the kidnapped man, the family had written a letter to PM Modi seeking his intervention for the release of the Sikh man and asking for Indian Citizenship.
Local land mafia responsible for Nidan Singh’s abduction
According to Charan Singh Sachdeva, Delhi-based cousin of Nidan Singh, the family came to know that the Sikh man was abducted by a local land mafia and not Taliban. He added that the abductors had earlier sent the family photos, videos on Whatsapp about Nidan Singh seeking his details. Singh is diabetic and needs proper care. Sachdeva said that communication with the abductors has since then stopped.
Furthermore, Sachdeva said that the mafia had taken control over the Gurudwara land because people hardly go there, save for the annual fair visit.
“Nidan was trying to get control of the land back. The land belongs to the Sikh community in Afghanistan and our family was caretaker of this particular gurdwara. It is located near the Pakistan border and hardly any Sikh lives there now,” Sachdeva said.
Singh’s abduction came on the heels of a gruesome attack by the Islamic State at Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul on March 25 in which 25 Sikh community members were killed.
Earlier, it was suspected that Taliban was involved in Singh’s kidnapping but Chhabol Singh, member, managing committee, Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji Singh Sabha Karte Parwan, Kabul, confirmed that it was the local land mafia who were eyeing the gurudwara land that had abducted Singh.
Nidan Singh’s family writes a letter to PM Modi
Meanwhile, the family of Nidan Singh had written a letter to PM Modi seeking his intervention in the release of the abducted man. Nidan’s wife Mahrwanti has written that her husband, “A Hindu Sikh minority, Afghan national has been abducted by armed disgruntled elements from Chamkani, Paktia from Gurdwara Thala Sahib. He went on a visit to Afghanistan in March this year to renew his Indian Long Term Visa and to maintain historical gurdwara. Our family ancestrally hails from Paktia.”
“I and my family members had tried to communicate with my husband but all attempts have gone in vain… We are deeply concerned for his welfare as he suffers from serious ailments like diabetes, hypertension..The abductors who have not disclosed their identity have confirmed his captivity through voice messages and his images sent over WhatsApp from his phone number and their own phone number,” the letter read.
Mahrwanti also drew PM Modi’s attention towards the plight of minorities in Afghanistan. “The minorities in Afghanistan are subjected to severe atrocities and do not have any sort of guarantee for their safety. The Government of India is requested to provide us appropriate assistance and take appropriate action as deemed fit. Our appeal may be taken up with concerned counterparts at the highest level in order to secure his safe release at the earliest… Kindly repatriate him to New Delhi immediately after his release and grant us Indian citizenship at the earliest,” the letter said.