New Delhi: A large number of Sikh and Hindu refugees from Afghanistan want to stay back in India, as the security situation in their country is not stable. Many of them, especially the young have learnt stitching and operating the computer and desire to be self-reliant.
New Delhi is home to a large number of Sikh and Hindu refuges, who migrated to India during the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in the early 1980s.
Many of them have been in India for over two decades as refugees. They are waiting for return of peace in Afghanistan.
It is estimated that 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus migrated to India in 1992. Among those living in the national capital, 5,000 of them are still having a refugee status but some 3,000 have been given Indian citizenship.
The children of Sikh and Hindu refugees are being given education and vocational training by Khalsa Diwan Welfare Society.
The Khalsa Diwan Welfare society, established in 1992, has ensured that Afghan refugees staying in India are able to earn their livelihood.
At present, around 750 children are studying in Khalsa Diwan education center. The expenditure of the society is funded by the Afghan community living in India.
"We do not want to go back to Afghanistan as the situation there is problematic and there is no hope of improvement. So, we would like to stay in India. If we get our nationality and visa free status from the Indian government, our grievances will be taken care of. We will go abroad for work but would like to come back to Delhi," said Harbit Singh Nagpal, the president of Khalsa Diwan Welfare society.
The second generation of Afghan Sikh refugees feels safe in India and do not wish to go back to Afghanistan.
"We left Afghanistan because there was fighting and insecurity there. I am not aware, but my parents told us about it and we came to India," said Saroop Kaur, an Afghan refugee.
"My family has been staying in India for the past 22 years. In India, we get everything and we can lead our life independently. I have completed my education, learnt computer and seeking training in tailoring," added another Afghan refugee Jasmeet Kaur.
India has agreed to grant five-year long term visas instead of one-year long visa to refugees who have migrated from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to India.