A Hindu American group has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant asylum to the persecuted Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan.
In a letter dated April 9 to Modi, Hindu American Foundation said it is imperative to alleviate the dire situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan who look to the secular Republic of India as the only safe haven in the region.
“On March 25, 2020, a terrorist attack on the prominent Dharamshala Temple in the Shor Bazar area of Kabul, Afghanistan tragically killed 25 people and injured at least 8 others. About 150 worshipers were inside the temple at the time of the attack including women and children,” said the HAF.
Noting that this is just the latest example of religious minorities being persecuted in Afghanistan, HAF said in July 2018, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus en route to meet Afghan President Ashraf Gani, resulting in the deaths of 19 people and injuring 20 others.
“Today, there are only an estimated 200 Sikh and Hindu families left in Afghanistan,” it said.
Encouraged by the recent steps taken by the Indian government, HAF urged Modi to take further action to alleviate the dire situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan “who look to the secular Republic of India as the only safe haven in the region”.
HAF urged the prime minister to grant legal entry and political asylum to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and other persecuted religious minorities currently fleeing Afghanistan with residency visas that last no less than five years and with the option of applying for expedited citizenship.
Seeking temporary housing to refugees, HAF urged Prime Minister Modi to ensure that these religious minorities are eligible for government benefits such as physical and mental healthcare, education, economic or business loans, grants and other employment opportunities.
“Hindu Americans are right in believing that the Indian government, granting citizenship to the most vulnerable communities in the region seeking safe haven in India, is a genuine humanitarian gesture that makes right at least some of the wrongs that exist in that part of the world,” stated HAF executive director Suhag Shukla.
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