Eleven Sikhs from Afghanistan left for New Delhi from Kabul on Thursday morning on a special flight, ANI reported.
The group took the flight twelve days after an attack on a gurdwara in Kabul that killed an Afghan Sikh and a Taliban fighter. Raqbir Singh, a man who was injured in the attack, was among those on the plane to Delhi.
The group is also carrying the ashes of Sawinder Singh, the Sikh man who was killed in the attack.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee – which manages Sikh places of worship in several parts of North India – paid for the tickets of the group. The gurudwara committee arranged for the special flight in co-ordination with the Union government and the Indian World Forum, an organisation working for the Indian diaspora.
Harjinder Singh Dhami, the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said that they paid the air fare as it was very important to evacuate Afghan Sikhs safely from Afghanistan, The Indian Express reported.
Only about 140 Sikhs live in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, mostly in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital city of Kabul.
Hundreds of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus were evacuated after an attack on another gurdwara in Kabul in March 2020, according to The Indian Express. In the aftermath of the attack on June 18, the Union government has given visas to 111 Sikhs and Hindus in order for them to be brought to Delhi.
On June 19, the Islamic State-Khorasan Province had claimed responsibility for the shooting at the gurdwara on the previous, saying that it carried out the attack in support of the Prophet Muhammad.
In a statement posted on its Amaq propaganda site, the terror outfit said the attack targeted Hindus and Sikhs and the apostates who protected them.
The attack took place two days after the Islamic State-Khorasan Province in a video warned of an attack on Hindus in response to disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad by two Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons