I am a terminating student at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. I was pursuing a two-year Master of Computer Applications (MCA) degree after obtaining the necessary visa and clearance from my country of residence, Afghanistan, in 2018.
My visa had initially expired on 21 July, but I managed to get an extension till 31 August. I was to go home in August to my family when the Taliban assumed control of our land, sending thousands of innocent Afghan citizens, their families and children into fear of what's to come. Given these extenuating circumstances, I have petitioned to the central government to help me and other Afghan students in India to extend our student visas, stipends, and scholarships, so that we can escape the brutalities of the new regime back home.
Coming from a poor family belonging to a minority group back in Afghanistan, it is nothing short of a miracle for me to attain such an education in India.
When I was 12 years old, I lost my hand in a bomb blast that devastated Mazhar-e-Sharif during the civil war.
I am grateful to have escaped these conditions and gotten admission at such a reputed institution, where people were cordial to me, not just during my Masters but also my undergraduate studies from 2012 to 2016. I left behind my family to fulfil certain aspirations and expectations they have from me and, of course, to be able to make ends meet.
Now, the world has witnessed the storm that has hit Afghan people. I can also become a victim to it if my visa is not extended. Over countless calls with my mother back home and sleepless nights here in Delhi, I have realised that this is truly a matter of life and death. As the Talib circle around my neighbourhood, my mother is not only worried about our family but also what could happen if I was to return.
I seek help from concerned Indian authorities because it is well known that India has been quite popular among Afghans for its community-development initiatives.
Now, more than ever, I expect that India to extend its humanity and provide me and other Afghan students here the legal extension of our visas, so that our dreams and the aspirations of our families are not shattered.
I wish to pursue my future education or just look for shelter and a job to contribute to the prosperity of the Indian economy.
Help from Alma Mater
I approached and written to the concerned authority in JNU to give me a bonafide certificate to apply for a visa extension, but they are not heeding my request as my course is over. Without this, I cannot apply for an extension on the Foreigners Regional Registration Office web portal. The staff is not cooperating and the police authorities affiliated to the issue are also delaying verification.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations, via the ICCR Fellowship for international students, is a government body that is providing necessary facilities and opportunities for students like me, but in principle only. I am hopeful that they will soon come up with a solution because they have done so in the past as well.
I would request the Ministry of External Affairs of India to address the issue as soon as possible. Otherwise I shall have to live with no shelter or money to fill my belly. I request them to provide me the visa extension and along with it, the promised fellowship, as asked for in my Change.org petition. I want a fair chance to study further. I have faith in the Indian government to help people like me who are caught in troubled waters as this is in consonance with the Indian ethos of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam', ie, 'the world is one family'.
(The Quint reached out to Jawaharlal Nehru University for a comment, but was unable to speak to a faculty member on account of a holiday.)
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