India evacuates passport-less Af toddler

Wednesday 01st September 2021 07:03 EDT

Less than four months old, Iknoor Singh, could hardly know the turmoil his parents were caught in as the Taliban took charge of Kabul. The toddler had no passport and with just a birth certificate in hand, the parents reached out to Indian authorities who brought them out of Afghanistan as a special case in the ongoing evacuation operation.

Those from the Afghan-Sikh community coordinating and supporting families shared that Iknoor’s paper work for travel happened in transit and the child was allowed to enter India with his parents with formalities completed at the Hindon airbase where officials of the Foreigners Regional Registration Office were camped.

The child’s father, Kerpal Singh, his wife and three children were part of the group of evacuees, who arrived on Sunday last on board the C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force. Meanwhile, away from the limelight, Iknoor and his parents are trying to recuperate at a relative’s house, having left behind their home and a shop that was the source of their livelihood. Iknoor’s father’s voice gets shaky as he remembers the developments over the last 10 days. He shared that his two older children aged five and three had passports. Had the Indian government not come forward to facilitate Iknoor’s travel they would not have been able to escape to safety.

The family had spent three days in the refuge of a gurudwara in Kabul before they were evacuated. Here in Delhi, Kerpal Singh is currently living with his sister who left Afghanistan two years ago due to the escalating violence. It is still early days for him to decide where the future lies for his family. This story is just one of the many that reflects the desperation and fear that made families leave everything behind to seek refuge away from what was till recently home.

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