New Delhi, August 3: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday urged the Centre to grant full citizenship rights to the minority Hindu and Sikh immigrants from Afghanistan who have been forced to flee to India. Also, it sought Central intervention for granting minority status to Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir.
A delegation of SAD MPs, led by Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pressing for citizenship rights to the immigrants from Afghanistan.
The delegation comprised SS Dhindsa, Naresh Gujral and Prem Singh Chandumajra. Former MP Tarlochan Singh, president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Manjit Singh (GK), and representatives of Hindu and Sikh immigrants from Afghanistan accompanied the delegation.
Making a distinction between the immigrants in Assam, the delegation said the Hindus and Sikhs were forced to flee Afghanistan on account of religious persecution by the Taliban. They settled in India more than three decades back.
Besides, their parents are from India. “It is lamentable that even though the Government of India’s standing policy is to welcome people of Indian origin if they are forced to leave their adopted countries, the immigrants from Afghanistan are made to run from pillar to post to get citizenship rights,” the delegation said.
A memorandum was submitted to Rajnath Singh in the regard.
Gujral said Rajnath Singh’s attention was also drawn to Sikhs not given minority status in the state of Jammu and Kashmir by the state government.
Rajnath Singh was urged to intervene to ensure safety of life and property of Sikhs residing in Meghalaya and in other north-eastern states.
Raising the issue of Chandigarh Administration amending the Motor Vehicle Act making it mandatory for even the Sikh women to wear helmets, the SAD urged the Centre to intervene.
Gujral said Rajnath Singh assured the delegation of giving a sympathetic consideration to the issues. With regard to granting citizenship rights to the immigrants from Afghanistan, he assured he would convene a meeting of officials, probably on August 14.
Source Tribune India