India’s discriminatory attitude towards Afghan refugees

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M Arsalan

THERE are around 10,000 Afghan refugees in Delhi, 90% of whom belong to Hindu and Sikh community.

Indian government shows discrimination to Afghans by only allowing the Hindu and Sikh refugees while discouraqinq other religions and ethnicities. This indicates the discriminatory and Hindutva mindset of Indian leadership.

In addition to that refugees from Afghanistan are on two years asylum visa. After the expiry of the visa they have to return to Afghanistan.

There is need to highlight India’s discriminatory role and on the other hand highlight Pakistan’s role in giving facilities to refugees.

Most Afghan refugees face problems in accessing facilities in India because they lack citizenship.

Afghan refugees in India face uncertain future because of the discriminatory attitude of Indian government. Afghan nationals first migrated to India during the Soviet war in late 1970s.

Afghan refugees have to struggle for basic amenities like a SIM card and gas cylinder.
India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees, nor does the country have its own specific law on refugees. Therefore, it badly treats the Afghan refugees.

It is clear indication of discriminatory attitude of Modi led BJP government in India that promotes the Hindutva ideology.

By publicly declaring a policy of religious discrimination, New Delhi has not only abandoned millions of Muslims seeking to flee Taliban rule; it has also put a target on the backs of Hindus and Sikhs who are still trapped in the country.

According to India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, those seeking citizenship will additionally have to prove that they have been in India on or before December 31, 2014.So there is no question of anyone obtaining Indian citizenship.

India also doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Many western countries give Afghan nationals an opportunity to remain an Afghan citizen even if they resettle in that country.

Afghan students who get education from Indian universities on student visa have an ambiguous legal status in India and an uncertain future.

Despite the UNHCR’s operations in Delhi, India has not signed the U.N. refugee agreements. The government has granted temporary protection to certain groups, including Tibetans and Sri Lankans.

But it lacks an overall asylum framework. Even with U.N. refugee status, many Afghans struggle to make long-term plans in India.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees operates an office in New Delhi, which grants refugee status to many Afghans and others, and issues them identification cards.

The office has been closed since March 2020. Afghan asylum seekers cannot work in India, neither can they study.

Afghan refugees are lesser in India than other countries in the region such as Pakistan and Iran, and even the United States.

India’s CCA law is clear indication of discriminatory attitude of Modi led BJP government in India that promotes the Hindutva ideology. Afghan refugees who do not have the UNHCR card cannot study in private educational institutions.

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