Ground Report | New Delhi: What is the fear of Afghan refugees in India; On August 17, the central government started a new visa scheme for those who left the country and came to India after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. The government says that this new visa category named ‘e-electronic ex-MISC visa’ has been introduced to fast-track the applications of the people of Afghanistan.
It has been told in media reports that these visas will be given only after security checks and will be valid for six months. A visa category named ‘Ex-MISC’ already exists. It is granted in cases where a visa has been applied for a specific purpose that does not fall under any of the existing categories of visas.
What is the fear of Afghan refugees in India
Hundreds of Afghans living in India are protesting the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan and demanding refugee status in the Hindu-majority country. Afghan refugees rally outside the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) office in New Delhi on Monday, demanding justice and protection for the future of Afghan children and women.
Nooyar, an Afghan refugee, came to India with her family seven years ago in the hope of a secure and prosperous future. “India is now our home and every year 15 August is a day of celebration in the country to mark its Independence Day. But on this 15 August, when India was celebrating its 75th Independence Day, we lost ours, because Kabul had fallen into the hands of the Taliban. That very day. I was sad and sad, and cried in my room all day,” she said with a heaviness in her voice.
25-year-old Afghani Jarfam Habib, who lives in New Delhi, came to India in 2015 with her parents and four siblings. Habib said, “My parents worked in the government sector and they had to face threats from terrorists again and again.”
As a result, the family left a house and other property in the southern province of Ghazni. Habib herself was studying to become a doctor but left her course midway to come to a “safer” India. “I am saddened to see what is currently happening in Afghanistan,” she said.
Aadela, 22, a history student at Delhi University, said, “In Afghanistan, it is not only the people affected. We have survived the painful life, but here too there is a struggle every day. People stare at us as if we are ghosts. Judged. I have been proposed a couple of times. People don’t understand the concept of refugees,” New Indian Express reported.
90% of Afghan live outside the country
According to the UNHCR, as of 2019, about a third of the nearly 40,000 refugees registered in India were Afghans. But there are many who are not registered with the agency. With the Taliban taking control of the country, there has been a growing demand for refugee status among the Afghan community in India.
According to the United Nations Treaty on the Status of Refugees, enacted in 1951, a refugee is considered to be one who is outside his country and is unable to return due to fear of persecution. India has granted refugee status to citizens of several countries who have come to escape persecution in the past decades, but the country has not signed a UN treaty.
According to an estimate, there are about 3,00,000 refugees living in India today, but even today the country does not have any refugee law or policy. Because of this, many refugees living in India often have to face difficulties. The government can declare them illegal immigrants whenever it wants and then take action against them under the Foreigners Act or the Passport Act.
ALSO READ: Taliban warning: US will face consequences
According to estimates by the UN refugee agency, 90 percent of the 2.6 million Afghan refugees live outside the country in Iran and Pakistan. Last year, 44,000 Afghan nationals applied for asylum in the 27-nation European Union.