The Taliban are learnt to have stopped a batch of 70  Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including two minority members of Afghanistan parliament, from boarding an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane on Saturday. They were sent back from the Kabul airport.

Seeking evacuation to India, this first batch of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus had been eagerly waiting outside the airport since yesterday.Ever since the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan, panic-stricken Hindus and Sikhs are trying to flee the restive country.

Taliban fighters stopped them from boarding the IAF plane and said that since they are Afghans, they must go back. The group has reportedly returned to Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh ji Karte Parwan in Kabul.

Since the Taliban takeover, a group of 280 Afghan Sikhs and 30-40 Hindus have taken shelter at Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul. They also held two meetings with Taliban representatives who assured them of ‘peace and safety and said that they need not leave the country.

However, since March 25, 2020, when at least 25 Sikhs were killed after an Islamic State (IS) gunman allegedly stormed the Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and opened fire, members of both minority communities have been urging the governments of India and Canada to evacuate them from Afghanistan.

Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are nationals of Afghanistan who hold passports of the war-torn country. They come to India on Long Term Visas but the families, who are financially weak, prefer to stay in that country as their sources of livelihood are mainly in the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni.

Earlier this week, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said to PTI that the Indian authorities were in touch with a group of Sikhs taking shelter in a gurudwara near Kabul, and that they will be brought to India as soon as possible.

We have been in touch with Sikh leaders and those in Afghanistan. They will be brought back safely as soon as possible," Puri told PTI. The Union minister was approached by BJP MP Hans Raj Hans for help to the Sikhs.

Hans who hails from Punjab said that around 250 Sikhs of Indian origin are taking shelter in the gurudwara near Kabul and they are safe. We are seeking help from external affairs minister and assured that the Indian origin Sikhs in Afghanistan will return to India after civilian flights resume," Hans told PTI.

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