Kerala

Afghan students’ long wait for e-visas piles on their misery

After the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, several students from that country who have been selected for scholarships by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations have been facing an uncertain future as they continue their months-long wait for e-visas. The delay has all but extinguished their hope of securing admissions in universities in India.

The Government of India’s decision to invalidate visas issued to Afghan nationals had dealt a severe blow to many. Some of them who had returned to Afghanistan to renew their visas have also been separated from their families that have settled in India for years.

Since Aug. 20

Munawar (name changed), a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Kerala, has been waiting for nearly six months for the Indian government’s electronic visa. He is worried about his family that is left to fend for itself in Kerala. Although he managed to complete the formalities without much delay, the emergence of the Taliban regime put paid to his plans to return to India. Like many others, Munawar now awaits the e-visa for which he submitted application on August 20 last year. His wife, a postgraduate student at the University of Kerala, and his three children currently reside in Thiruvananthapuram.

“These are hard times for the family. My wife and children recently contracted COVID-19 and continue to suffer from its aftereffects. I only pray that the Government of India take a compassionate view of the Afghan students and expedite the visa processing,” Munawar said.

Second home

His plight largely mirrored that of Kabul resident Sayed Mahboob Hashimi, a final-year MBA student of Osmania University. Having settled in Hyderabad for three years, his family had made India their second home. Things fell apart when Mr. Hashimi had to head for Afghanistan five months ago to renew his visa. Ever since, his wife and four children have been staying by themselves in India.

With several other Afghan students being unable to join their chosen courses in time, their window of opportunity appears to be closing. Many are now trying to obtain Iran visas in the hope of being able to travel to India from the West Asian country.


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 9:40:09 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/afghan-students-long-wait-for-e-visas-piles-on-their-misery/article38278345.ece