External Affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday met Afghan Sikh refugees in West Delhi as part of BJP’s outreach campaign on nine years of the Modi government, and said there is “a good case” of providing multiple entry Visa to those who want to go back to Afghanistan to tend to their properties and gurdwaras.
Jaishankar was accompanied by Delhi BJP leaders including state president Virendra Sachdeva in his visit to Guru Arjun Dev Gurdwara in West Delhi’s Mahavir Nagar where he met the refugees.
The former bureaucrat also promised to look into the concerns of the Sikh refugees regarding their citizenship status, passport, and schooling for their children.
“I wanted to listen to their concerns. They raised their issues – some want to go back since they have property there. There was also concern about gurdwaras there,” he said, interacting with reporters after the visit.
“I felt they have a good case of travelling to Afghanistan and coming back and they should be given multiple or double, triple-entry visas. Another issue was how to take forward citizenship as some people are awaiting it,” he said.
The minister said he found some refugees who took on Indian citizenship because of their children, later faced problems. “It should not be like that. Instead of helping them, the system puts more burden on them.” In reply to a question over opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act, Jaishankar said “If that law were not there, what would happen to them. This is not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of humanity.” He said that the Afghan Sikh refugees could not have been left to fend for themselves in Afghanistan.
“We will certainly do whatever we can do to address their demands and concerns,” he said.
He also pointed out that not all refugees wanted an Indian passport, and some wanted to retain their previous passport and others had applied elsewhere for it.
Jaishankar, along with former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has been deputed by the BJP to oversee a month-long campaign across the seven Lok Sabha constituencies of Delhi to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in its nine years at the Centre.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)