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India evacuates 77 persons from Afghanistan, more flights expected

The passengers brought three Shri Guru Granth Sahib from various Gurudwaras in Afghanistan.

A special flight of Air India arrived here on Tuesday morning carrying 77 stranded persons from Kabul, including 46 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. The passengers brought three Shri Guru Granth Sahib from various Gurudwaras in Afghanistan. The travellers were evacuated on Monday from Kabul in an Indian Air Force flight and spent the night at Dushanbe before being airlifted in a special Air India flight.

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri received the Sikh holy books at the Delhi airport.

Puneet Singh Chandhoke, one of the civil society activists who has been coordinating with the Ministry of External Affairs, said the persons bringing the Sikh holy books would be taken in a procession to Guru Arjan Dev Ji Gurdwara in the capital’s Mahavir Nagar. “Prominent New York-based entrepreneur Mandeep Singh Sobti and Paramjeet Singh Anand through their Sobti Foundation have undertaken the lifetime rehabilitation of these displaced Afghan nationals in coordination and guidance of Government of India,” said Mr. Chandhoke.

Read: Opinion | A pragmatic Afghan behind the religious garb?

India is likely to operate a few more flights to evacuate Afghan and stranded Indian citizens in the coming days, said Mr. Chandhoke. Kabul continued to remain tense with hundreds of people pouring in from various parts of Afghanistan at the airport which remains under the control of the U.S. forces.

India has maintained focus on evacuating Sikhs and Hindus while also helping some of the lawmakers and officials associated with the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

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