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Afghan students in Karnataka worry over families, visa status after Taliban take over

A group of Afghan students studying at the University of Mysore met the vice-chancellor of the university G Hemanth Kumar on Tuesday with a plea to look after the interests of Afghan students during the current crisis.

Written by Kiran Parashar | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 19, 2021 11:34:58 am
Afghan students, Karnataka, Karnataka Afghan studentsAccording to the sources in the Karnataka police department, there are 339 Afghanistan nationals who are legally living in Karnataka.

“Never ever think about coming back to Afghanistan if the Taliban continue to rule, we will try to escape from this place but if that does not happen, we will always be with you,” Sayed Qudrat’s mother told him over the phone.

The 25-year-old law student in Mysore is among many in Karnataka whose lives have turned upside down after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. “As we speak, they have not harmed anyone in my family but nobody is confident that the Taliban or its law will treat citizens fairly. Even if my family wants to leave, they do not have a way. We request India and other countries to join hands to bring peace in my homeland,” Qadrat said.

While internet and connectivity remained in place allowing students to communicate with their families back in Afghanistan, there is concern that things could change once the Taliban gain complete control at the local level.

A group of Afghan students studying at the University of Mysore met the vice-chancellor of the university G Hemanth Kumar on Tuesday with a plea to look after the interests of Afghan students during the current crisis.

“I came here to pursue my higher education and events have unfolded in Afghanistan. My family has moved from Kapisa to Kabul. I am praying for their safety. We, the student community, are very much concerned about the situation,” said Asmatullah Daneshjo, 25, a first year journalism student at Mysore University.

Mysore University VC, G Hemanth Kumar, said he will write to the Ministry of External Affairs to help the students.

“The university stands with the students and we will extend all our help. I am also writing to the Ministry of External Affairs to help those students in whatever way we can,” he said.

Riza Mukhtari, 21, who is studying for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Indian Academy Degree Autonomous College in Bengaluru, said he has got a visa extension for two months. Mukhtari said his return to his homeland looked uncertain. He said his family was safe at present. “As of now, my family is safe in Kabul. When I spoke to them on Tuesday they said that civilians have not been harmed but the Taliban soldiers are searching each and every house to eliminate people who were against them,” he said.

According to the sources in the Karnataka police department, there are 339 Afghanistan nationals who are legally living in Karnataka. Of them, 202 are residing in Bengaluru. As many as 192 Afghan nationals are on student visas.

Afghan nationals whose visas have expired or is about to expire are expressing their concern. There is no official communication from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Ministry of External Affairs on visa validity, a student said.

A source in the police department said that the visas can be extended under certain terms and conditions but there may be penalties imposed if a visa expires. Long stays of three to four years without a valid visa could attract deportation to Afghanistan under the existing rules, said officials handling the affairs of foreigners in the state.

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