Close to 200 families belonging to the Sikh community who have arrived here from Afghanistan have been put up at gurdwaras that are run by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).
“Close to 200 families have come here and are staying in gurdwaras. We are making arrangements for their accommodation till the time they do not get permanent citizenship. We are also providing them assistance in getting employment,” DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.
He added that all the cost would be borne by the management committee. He also thanked the Central government, particularly home minister Amit Shah, for facilitating visas for these families.
“There are 138 persons in 31 rooms living over here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities. We will also try to have the children enrolled in Guru Harkishan Public Schools and will teach them free of cost if the need arises,” Harjit S Bedi, chief VC, gurdwara, Motibagh, said.
Bedi said that the persons could stay in the gurdwara for as long as they need to. “In the case of earning bread and butter, they need to be emotionally secure. In the case of residential, they are secure over here,” he added.
Balbir Singh, 63, one of the Afghan Sikhs who along with his family were brought here by the Union government following attacks faced by minorities in the country, said that he was grateful to the gurdwara for looking after him and his family.
“We left everything, including our houses in Afghanistan. Our lives were in danger, but now, we feel safe here,” he added.
The ministry of external affairs recently announced that India has decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan to India.
The decision comes after a terror attack at a gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazaar in March killed at least 25 members of the community.
Once a community of nearly 250,000 people, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan has endured years of discrimination and violence from extremists, and the community is now estimated to comprise fewer than 100 families across the country.