Appearing for the online internal exam at his residence in Kabul on March 23, Nasihullah Quaraishi remained optimistic about his return journey to Kochi.
A final year student of BTech Information Technology at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), the 21-year-old had left the campus nine months ago for attending his brother's marriage. The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban had shattered the dreams of thousands like him. With no clarity yet on the way forward, Nasihullah is eagerly waiting for the day when he would be able to board a flight to India.
"More than 2,000 Afghan students pursuing various programmes in Indian universities are stranded in various cities of Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of our country. We have been sending numerous mails to the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi requesting for granting our visas. Unfortunately, there has been no response yet," he said minutes after completing the internal exam for his BTech programme.
Nasihullah, who enrolled for the BTech programme offered by Cusat in 2018, said the stranded students cannot come back unless the Indian government decides to grant permission for their return. "I am worried as the offline classes have resumed at Cusat," he said.
K. N. Madhusoodanan, Vice Chancellor of Cusat, said the varsity has decided to permit the stranded Afghan students to continue their learning process in the online mode. "Five students have been permitted to continue their studies based on a request by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)," he said.
The Central authorities had informed that there is delay in the processing of the e-visas for the students stranded in Afghanistan.
N. Balakrishna, Director of the varsity's International Relations and Academic Admissions (IRAA), said the Afghan students stranded in their country will be given recorded lectures and study materials. "There will be weekly online discussions and doubt clearing sessions too," he said. As per official estimates, 12 Afghan students are currently pursuing various programmes at Cusat.
Omar Tariq, a student of BBA LLB programme who is awaiting the return of his friends stranded in Afghanistan, pointed out that the Indian authorities are yet to decide on the fate of the students. “My request for renewal of visa, which will expire next month, is pending. The situation back home is also not good, as the economic condition of Afghans had worsened after the takeover by the Taliban," he said.