Chandigarh, Aug 2 (IANS) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to grant citizenship to all Afghan Sikh and Hindu families who have taken refuge in India after fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.
While demanding that the country must come to the aid of all these displaced persons, a SAD delegation met the Minister in New Delhi on Thursday.
The delegation, which included union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Naresh Gujral and other senior SAD leaders, said there were around 35,000 Afghan Sikh and Hindu families currently living in India.
The delegation apprised the Home Minister that these people had fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took control in 1989. They pointed out that these families faced harassment and persecution in the war-torn country due to forced conversions and danger to their womenfolk.
Harsimrat Badal urged Rajnath Singh to grant passports to all these displaced persons besides rehabilitating them by offering a comprehensive package to them as was done in the case of Kashmiri Pandits and Sri Lankan Tamils.
The Home Minister promised to form a committee comprising Sikh representatives to examine the entire matter and make recommendations for resolving it.