A delegation of Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence here on Saturday and thanked him for bringing about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as standing up for them in times of distress. Welcoming the delegation, Prime Minister Modi said they are not guests, but that India is their home.
The meeting comes a day after Prime Minister Modi hosted a number of prominent Sikhs at his residence, and a day before the Punjab Assembly polls.
Prime Minister Modi talked about the immense difficulties faced by the Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan and the help provided by the government to bring them to India safely, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.
In this light, he also talked about the significance of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and its benefits for the community, the statement said.
Pime Minister Modi assured them of continuous support in the future as well to resolve all issues and address the difficulties faced by them.
The prime minister also talked about the significance of the tradition of honouring the Guru Granth Sahib, in light of which special arrangements were made to bring back 'Swaroop' of Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan.
Modi also talked about the immense love he has received from Afghans over the years and fondly recalled his visit to Kabul, according to the statement.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who was present on the occasion, thanked the prime minister for sending help from India for bringing back members of the community safely, and said that when no one stood with them, the prime minister ensured constant support and timely help.
Other members of the delegation also thanked the Prime Minister for standing up for them in times of distress, the statement said
They said that they had tears in their eyes when they heard him talking about making special arrangements to bring back 'Swaroop' of Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan to India with proper reverence, according to the statement.
The delegation members also thanked him for bringing about the CAA, which will be of immense help for members of their community, the statement said.
Praising Modi, the delegation members said he is not just the prime minister of India, but the "prime minister of the world" as he understands the difficulties faced especially by Hindus and Sikhs across the world and makes all out efforts to provide immediate help in all such cases.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Union Minister of State Meenakashi Lekhi were also present on the occasion.
The delegation members presented the PM with traditional Afghani attire and a headgear, which he wore and remarked that former Afghan President Hamid Karzai would be very happy to see him in that attire.
A large number of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs have been living in India, and the Indian government recently evacuated many of them following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
The Modi government has often asserted its commitment to the minorities of Afghanistan who have faced religious persecution, especially from the Taliban.
The CAA, which facilitates granting of Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 and the Presidential nod was received the next day.
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