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Afghan Sikhs, Hindus Arrive In India After Deadly Attack


Afghan Sikh men prepare a funeral pyre for victims of a March attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul.

Sikh and Hindu Afghans, most reportedly family members of people killed in an attack on a Kabul temple earlier this year, arrived in India on July 26 on special visas, the foreign ministry said.

At least 25 people died in the mass shooting at a Sikh-Hindu temple in Afghanistan's capital in March claimed by the Islamic State group.

Ten of the 11 Sikhs and Hindus -- both minority groups in war-torn Afghanistan -- had relatives who died in the assault, Indian media reported.

Nidan Singh Sachdeva, an Afghan who was kidnapped from a Sikh temple in Afghanistan, also arrived with the group in India's capital, New Delhi, the foreign ministry said.

"Around 11 members, belonging to the Sikh and Hindu minority community of Afghanistan, arrived in India today," the ministry said in a statement. "India has granted appropriate visa and facilitated their travel to India."

It is estimated that only a few thousand Sikhs and Hindus live in Afghanistan, whose population is largely Muslim. The Islamic State militant group has a history of targeting Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.

The foreign ministry did not give further details about the length of the visas or which laws were used to issue them.

India's Hindu-nationalist government pushed a law through parliament in December that fast-tracks citizenship for persecuted non-Muslim minorities from neighboring countries.

It triggered deadly protests in India amid fears it could be used to marginalize the country's 200 million Muslims.

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