PM Modi to meet Afghan Sikh, Hindu community members soon

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Updated: Feb 18, 2022, 11:55 AM(IST)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the World Economic Forum's online Davos Agenda 2022 summit Photograph:( ANI )

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India in the past has brought the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and important Hindu scriptures from Afghanistan over fears of safety after the Taliban's takeover.

In a significant development, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders and members.

For many minorities, India has been a second home, especially since the Taliban's takeover of the country last August. Under "Operation Devi Shakti" last year India had evacuated hundreds of stranded Indian nationals and Afghan minority community members from the country.

Sikh groups in Delhi, leaders like Puneet Singh Chandok have been raising the issue of the situation of the Afghan minority community in India with the Indian government. In a letter to PM Modi, Chandhok, president of the Indian World Forum emphasised on pressing issues like Indian citizenship for Afghan minorities, visas and maintenance of gurudwara in Afghanistan.

The letter seen by WION said, "Government of India may consider and set-up a single-window facility in particular for Afghan minorities for processing their fresh and pending applications" when it comes to citizenship.

It has also suggested recruitment of Afghan minorities in Indian armed forces, on the lines of recruitment of Nepali Gorkhas in the Indian Army. Some kind of announcement could be made after the meeting. India in the past has also brought the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and important Hindu scriptures from Afghanistan over fears of safety after the Taliban's takeover.

Meanwhile, India may send 50,000 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan next week. The aid will be sent over route through Pakistan territory on Afghan trucks.

The ministry of external affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said, "We are committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. We have said this before, we have shared information about the shipment of medicines and vaccines. The modalities for the shipment of 50,000 tonnes of wheat via Pakistan are in the final stages." 

The Indian embassy in Rome and the United Nations World Food Program had formally signed an MoU on February 12 for the distribution of wheat to Afghanistan.

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