India Providing Refuge to Afghan immigrants
August 15th, 2021, will always remain a grim memory in the heart of the Afghan people. On this very day, the Taliban won the war they’ve been raging for the last 20 years. They took Afghanistan under their control as US troops surrendered before them and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan in his private jet, leaving behind his countrymen to face the misery. After the occurrence of heavy casualty, thousands of Afghan immigrants ran towards the borders searching for a safe place over their head.
Even after Ashraf Ghani abandoned his people, Many countries have opened up their borders to take in refugees. India has also opened up its arm providing Refuge to Afghan immigrants. However, In the past India has been known for providing safe Refuge of learning, education, and health to the Afghan immigrant, is now housing political refuge from the fallen country too. The people-to-people relationship between India and Afghanistan has always been strong. We can trace this relationship back to the 13th century when the Khilji dynasty first infiltrated India. Since then both countries have played the role of friends and foes over centuries.
The Indian government on 17th, August announced that it will start allocating emergency e-visa for Afghan people who wish to come to the country to avert the casualties that have been going on in Kabul along with other important cities of Afghanistan.
However, in recent past weeks, only a handful of Afghan refugees have arrived in the country, these refugees are mostly former government members and those having a prior visa issued by the Indian government. On 21st, August, Sunday an Air India flight brought 129 passengers including Afghan immigrants among them from Kabul to the country. India has been providing refuge to Afghan immigrants since 1979.
Anwas Tanwir, the lawyer of the supreme court and the founder-director of the Indian Civil Liberties Union has said that ” India is not a signatory to any of the refugee conventions. But India has historically given space to refugees from Afghanistan, Tibet, and Sri Lanka”. Till now India is accommodating over 10,000 Afghan immigrants inside the country. However, in the last few days, there has been continuous protest going on outside UNSC, Delhi by Afghan refugees, demanding refugee cards to apply for a long-term visa, resettlement options, and Security from the Indian government and UNHCR.
India is known for providing Refuge to immigrants from other countries. However, India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has no law on the protection of the rights of refugees or even defining them. Despite the large number of casualties the Afghan immigrants face in India, they are still hoping to return to their country. But, now as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, their hopes have been shattered as they are left behind to cope with their problems. They have endured a lot, they are still enduring a lot. Until the UNHCR decides on the safety of this person India has become their home now.