Around 60 Sikhs who had taken shelter in a Kabul Gurudwara have been shifted to a safe place by the Indian embassy officials. According to a report by the Times of India, they have been shifted from the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Karte-Parwan in Kabul to the safe place before their evacuation to India. The Sikhs claim that Hindus are also included in the contingent.
Since the Taliban started to take over Afghanistan, around 285 people have taken shelter in the Gurudwara. The people who have been shifted include two members of the Afghanistan parliament from the Sikh community, Anarkali Kaur Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa. Narender Khalsa is the son of Afghan Sikh leader Awtar Singh Khalsa, who was killed in the 2018 Jalalabad terror attack.
Most of the people staying at the Gurudwara however do not want to be evacuated to India, and they prefer to go to the US or Canada. Around a dozen Sikhs taking shelter at the Gurdwara had issued a video message a couple of days ago, where they had requested that they should be rescued from Kabul and evacuated to either Canada or the United States.
They had said that the situation in Afghanistan is very bad and the future is uncertain. They had appealed to the Sikh organisations in Canada and the USA to help evacuate them to those countries. Although the Taliban had said that they will ensure the safety of Sikhs and other minorities, the minorities in Afghanistan are not willing to trust them. “A Taliban delegation came here and said they won’t harm our gurdwara. But there is no saying what will happen when their laws come into effect. We can’t trust the Taliban government,” a man staying at the Gurudwara had said.
These people don’t want to come to India as they feel that the condition of people who have been evacuated to India has not been good. They also say they don’t have any roots or connections with India now. Only around five Afghan Sikhs are willing to come to India as they have work and properties in the country, while the rest prefer shifting to Canada or the USA. “Most of the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus do not have any settlement in India and want to be evacuated to Canada or the US. Our first preference for evacuation is Canada and US, and not India,” a Sikh from Kabul told TOI over the phone.
The man added that officials had asked the people living in the Gurudwara to shift to a different place in batches of 50. He also alleged that the Gurudwara members ‘pressurised’ them to leave the premises, while they liked it or not. However, his name was not on the list of the first batch, hence he is still at the Gurudwara.
The Sikh mane also informed that the first group has been shifted to the basement of a building, which is considered a safe place, and they are likely to be evacuated to New Delhi. When asked why they don’t want to return to India, he said that some Afghan Sikhs were evacuated to India after the 2018 Jalalabad, and now they are living in miserable conditions. Fearing the same for them, they prefer to go to Canada or the USA instead.