Jun 22, 2020
Sixty-year-old Sachdeva was kidnapped on 17 June 2020 when he was visiting the historically important Tala Sahib Gurudwara in Chamkani for voluntary work, better known as Sewa. The said Gurudwara has an emotional attachment for the Sikh community since Guru Nanak Dev visited the place during his journey across the globe.
Intelligence sources reveal that Afghanistan’s primary intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) and India’s external intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) immediately swung into action.
It was suspected that the local land mafia which wanted to grab the Gurudwara land abducted him and handed him over to the Haqqani Network.
Sources reveal that the Haqqani Network took Sachdeva across the border to Baggan of Khurram Agency in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan, which is now inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Meanwhile, on 24 June, Nidan Singh’s Facebook account was taken over by those who had abducted him. They posted several news clips and videos of his abduction and asked people to share them widely.
The family members of Nidan Singh were sent several audio clips in Pashto asking for ransom and threatening the family with consequences. A photograph of Nidan Singh with his hands tied was also shared with the family members over WhatsApp.
How Nidan Singh Was Rescued
On 25 June, Nidan Singh’s wife Mahrwanti wrote a letter as an SOS appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assistance of the Government of India in securing the safe release of Nidan Singh from ‘armed disgruntled elements’ and repatriating him back to New Delhi at the earliest. The Quint has accessed the two-page letter.
“As per facts, Paktia is an epicentre of Taliban insurgency and in the past has been a safe haven for militants from Haqqani Network, therefore considering the same we apprehend that he may have been abducted by a militant organisation,” his wife wrote in the letter.
Letter Image Link :--
In her letter to the PM, Mahrwanti said that minorities living in Afghanistan continue to face “severe atrocities and do not have any sort of guarantee for their safety.” She then requested the Government of India “to provide us appropriate assistance and take appropriate action as deemed fit.”
Urging the Indian government to ensure the release of her husband, Mahrwanti requested PM Modi to “repatriate him back to New Delhi immediately after his release and grant us Indian citizenship at the earliest.”
On the morning of 18 July, Nidan Singh was rescued in an operation of the Afghan NDS and other security forces. It was believed that the abductors pulled him back from Baggan in Pakistan to Chamkani in Afghanistan, after Pakistan-backed Haqqani Network couldn’t establish his Indian identity or any other connection with the Indian government.
In a minute-long video released by the NDS, Nidan was seen thanking the Paktia governor, tribal elders and friends of the Hindu and Sikh communities across the world who helped and prayed for his rescue.
In yet another video that was released shortly after, Nidan could be seen erecting the sacred Nishan Sahib (Sikh holy flag) at the Tala Sahib Gurudwara along with the help of Afghan security personnel. While Nidan appeared weak, he could be seen offering prayers with folded hands at the Sikh holy shrine.
Photo of Nidan Singh with an Afghani security official.