Soon after the attack on Gurudwara in Afghanistan, though the Government of India offered help to the Sikh and Hindus by issuing electronic visas (e-visas), there has been no respite for students from Afghanistan, who are seeking visa for entry into the country to be reunited with their family members and to pursue their study.
The Afghan student Zam (name changed for security reasons), pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Kerala, despite knocking on every door to bring back her husband Gul (name changed), who is stuck in Tehran after managing to escape from Taliban in Afganistan, is still awaiting a reply from the Government.
Gul, who is also doing his post-doctoral studies from the University of Kerala, got stuck in Afghanistan after Taliban took the regime. He had a visa to return back to Kerala. Later, he also applied for e-visa. However, there was no response from the Government.
It has been over one and half years since Zam and her three children met Gul. Moreover, she has been struggling with the long-term effects of COVID-19, having to make frequent hospital visits. Her three children are usually left behind with one of her friends. With her health deteriorating, doctors in a private hospital have advised her to get admitted, which she has refused to do, citing that there is no one to take care of the children, who are three, nine and two years old.
“I feel helpless. Children are all alone and my husband has taken refuge in Tehran for a couple of months now after escaping from taliban,”she said.
Despite writing to the University, the State government and the Central government for help and requesting to issue e-visa to her husband, there has been no response, she said. With her husband losing a job, for the past many months, she and her children have been surviving on her doctoral studies’ stipend, which she fears will exhaust quickly.
Speaking from Tehran, Gul said that his life is in threat. He said that the Taliban took over the regime when he was on a visit to Afghanistan to collect data for his post-doctoral research work at University of Kerala.
He had the visa to return and later also applied for E-Visa. However, there has been no response from the Indian government so far, he said
Plea for support
Mr. Gul said that he had to hide and escape from Taliban, and, after a lot of struggle, managed to reach Tehran with a hope that this would enable him to get visa from the Indian Government. However, the Government, which is extending a helping hand to Hindu and Sikhs after the attack on Gurdawara, is turning a blind eye towards their problem and neglecting their plea to enter the country to rejoin with their family and loved ones, he lamented.
“I feel helpless when my wife is in hospital and children are all alone without any support. Don’t treat us like terrrorist. In this time of hardship, we look forward for the support of the Government in India,” he said.
Many other students are also awaiting e-visa to return back to India to pursue their studies, while several other like him are desperate to reach out to their families and rejoin them, he added.