Ground Report | New Delhi: Afghans worried; There is an atmosphere of uncertainty among Afghan students coming here for studies and research amid cases of India cancelling visas of Afghan nationals. 1500 such students are studying in India on the scholarship of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), The Hindu reported.
Shafiq Sultan, 27, is also one of those who are pursuing PG in JNU on the ICCR Scholarship. This scholarship project of ICCR was started by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in the year 2005. Shafiq Sultan has applied for Ph.D. but has not received any reply from the government whether his visa and scholarship will continue or not.
Shafiq has not been able to talk to his family members who are in Afghanistan for a month. He told The Hindu newspaper, “If I return to my country at this time, there is no doubt that one day I will be killed. The Taliban have access to every database and they are doing house-to-house investigations. I hope so.” That the government will consider giving us a new life and will allow us to live and study here.”
The hopes of 400 students who completed the course like Shafiq in August are pinned on the government’s decision. There are about 800 students who have got a scholarship for the new session from August and are going to study in various colleges and universities of India but the picture is not clear about their visa yet. Some of them have already applied for visas at the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
Notification cancelling visas
Last week, the Home Ministry issued a notification canceling visas previously issued to Afghan nationals not living in India, citing security concerns. The government says that there was a possibility of its misuse. This decision of the government has affected about 400 Afghan students who returned to their country after the closure of the university due to restrictions related to Corona in India.
Now that colleges and universities are opening, these students are facing the challenge of the Taliban regime. The Taliban is banning Afghan citizens from leaving the country. Many of these students have also applied for emergency online visas, but there has been no response from the government.
An official source told The Hindu newspaper that “the situation is serious. There are many issues that have to be decided. We will ensure that the interests of Afghan students are protected.”
Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Fareed Mamundzai, says he has formally written to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding more than 1,500 such Afghan students. He informed that so far 14,000 Afghan students have received scholarships from India.