Forty members of Afghanistan’s Hindu and Sikh community who left the country nine months ago returned from India on Sunday.
They said they will remain in Afghanistan if the government provides them shelter and gives their children access to education.
At least 200 Hindu and Sikh Afghans left the country and traveled to India last year after “threats and discrimination” against them in Afghanistan.
The 200 people who left were members of 20 families, and the move followed an attack on a Dharamshala, a place of worship, in Kabul in March 2020 in which 25 people were killed.
Paramjit Kaur, who returned from India, said that besides being a caretaker for his three children, he also looks after his sister's four children whose father died in last year’s Daesh attack in Kabul.
“We thank the government for helping those who returned from India today,” Kaur said.
The families said that they are living in a temple in Kabul due to lack of safety and shelter.
“My husband has died. I have no future,” said a returnee.
The government has provided some food and medicine as well as cash and says those who have returned will be provided shelter and their children will be provided access to education.
“Shelter, schools and other basic needs will be addressed by the government,” said Ahmad Khan Nafe, head of the emergency operations center.
The only representative of the Sikh community in Parliament, Narendra Singh Khalsa, said that out of 5,000 members of the Hindu and Sikh community in Afghanistan, only 900 have remained in the country. Others left over the last 18 years after their property was taken by land-grabbers in Kabul, Ghazni and Nangarhar, he said.
“I hope that we are supported by Mr. President who has directed the urban development ministry, and the education ministry,” Khalsa said.
Figures show that 48 Hindu and Sikh Afghans were killed and 33 more were injured due to violence in the country over the last four years.