Updated: December 10, 2021 8:53:12 pm
India, on Friday, evacuated 104 people, including 10 Indian nationals, from Kabul in a special charter aircraft. Two saroops of the Guru Granth Sahib and Hindu holy scriptures were also flown in on the flight.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the flight was arranged under India’s operation Devi Shakti, launched to evacuate Indians from Afghanistan after the war-torn country fell to the Taliban on August 15.
Under Operation Devi Shakti, a special Kam Air flight arranged by India has arrived in New Delhi from Kabul.
It has brought 10 Indians and 94 Afghans including members of the Afghan Hindu-Sikh minority community. Among the evacuees are 9 children, including 3 infants.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) December 10, 2021
“Under Operation Devi Shakti, a special Kam Air flight arranged by India has arrived in New Delhi from Kabul,” Bagchi tweeted. “It has brought 10 Indians and 94 Afghans including members of the Afghan Hindu-Sikh minority community. Among the evacuees are 9 children, including 3 infants.”
It is learnt that both the Indian government and the Afghan embassy in Delhi coordinated to arrange for the flight.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and BJP president J P Nadda were present at the airport to receive the flight.
Puri tweeted, “Deeply blessed to join Adhyaksh Sh @JPNadda Ji, @adeshguptabjp Ji & others in paying obeisance to the two holy Saroops of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on their arrival from Kabul with members of the Sikh Sangat & Hindu community.”
He added, “Copies of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Sri Ramcharit Manas & other Hindu holy scriptures & rare manuscripts from Asamaya Mandir in Kabul were also brought back by members of the Sikh Sangat & Hindu devotees on a special flight today.”
Copies of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Sri Ramcharit Manas & other Hindu holy scriptures & rare manuscripts from Asamaya Mandir in Kabul were also brought back by members of the Sikh Sangat & Hindu devotees on a special flight today.@narendramodi @AmitShah @JPNadda @adeshguptabjp pic.twitter.com/oFSW1UmQ7u
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) December 10, 2021
Former SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who recently joined the BJP, said the entire expense of the evacuation was borne by the Central government. “We spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah for evacuating the remaining Afghan Sikhs and Hindus from Kabul and he had assured us that they will be brought to India safely,” Sirsa said.
The Guru Granth Sahib saroops have been sent to the Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev in Delhi’s Mahavir Nagar, while the Hindu religious scriptures have been sent to Asamai Mandir in Faridabad.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Gurnam Singh of the Karte Parwan gurdwara in Kabul said, “Nearly 120 Sikhs and Hindus are still left here but some of them can’t leave due to personal reasons. Others may leave in the coming days if another flight operates. I chose to stay back as there has to be someone to take care of gurdwaras.”
Kulwinder Singh, one of the evacuated Afghan Sikhs who arrived in Delhi Friday, said he doesn’t have any plan to return to Afghanistan. “Life in India now starts from scratch. Our priority is to find work but it isn’t easy. Some families who had shifted here last year are getting monthly amount for house rent and other expenses from some NGOs… but that isn’t a permanent solution… But it is better to live in India as a refugee than in fear of death every single day in Afghanistan.”
At least 70 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including MPs Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honoryar, were evacuated to Delhi in two batches of 24 and 46 earlier this year.
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