And then there were none! Shaken by the brutal attack on the gurdwara this week, a number of Sikh families in Afghanistan have appealed to India for help. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh turned to Twitter to request Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar to “to get them airlifted at the earliest.’’
“Dear @DrSJaishankar, there are a large number of Sikh families who want to be flown out of Afghanistan. Request you to get them airlifted at the earliest. In this moment of crisis, it’s our bounden duty to help them,’’ tweeted Singh.
Singh’s demand is already being seen by BJP supporters as a vindication of the Citizen’s Amendment Act, and is likely to put Singh in a bit of a spot. While some Sikhs might want to come back, the Afghan government has tried to reach out to the minority community. The special envoy of the President and State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs, Dr Sima Samar, tweeted that the team for the negotiations with the Taliban had been announced but there was no representation from the Sikh or the Hindu community.
Indian Embassy in Afghanistan said it was in constant touch with the Hindu and Sikh community and has assured them of continuing support. “Government of Afghanistan has also assured full security to them,” it said.
The Indian government was also repatriating the remains of Tian Singh, an Indian national who was killed in the attack. Singh had gone to Kabul to meet some distant relatives. His wife and son had written to Jaishankar appealing for his remains to be brought back home.
“Upon completion of various legal documentation and procedures,’’ his remains—along with two others—will be brought back on a special flight, a tweet by the Indian Embassy said.
The responsibility for the attack, which killed 25 people, has been claimed by IS-K. An Indian national from Kerala was part of this suicide attack. The extremist group published a picture of a man identified as Abu Khalid Al-Hindi who was part of the attack. Reports, suggest that this man—which Indian agencies claim—is Mohmmad Mushin, an engineering student from Kerala’s Kasaragod area. He had gone missing in 2016.
This is not the first time that the Sikh community has been targeted by the IS. The last attack took place a few years ago in Jalalabad.