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Afghan students request India to extend visas

Hundreds of Afghan college students living in India despite the expiry of their student visas staged a protest in New Delhi on Wednesday to urge the Indian government to extend their stay and allow them to resume their studies.
India has in the past offered scholarships to thousands of overseas students from countries such as Afghanistan to pursue undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, reports Reuters.

But after the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021, many Afghan students in India were reluctant to return home due to fears of possible reprisals and a lack of opportunities due to the country’s economic crisis, the students say. “The Indian government has not released scholarships for the current academic session (which started in July) and after the expiry of our visa we are living under constant fear of police arrest,” said Arsalan Qayumi of the Afghanistan Students’ Association, which staged the New Delhi protest.

“The students are neither getting scholarships nor permission to work in India,” he said.

Kumar Tuhin, DG, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), a unit of the Ministry of External Affairs, ICCR, said, “We understand that Afghan students are facing problems and the government is serious about addressing their concerns.”

He said no student would be forced to leave the country against their wishes, adding that the External Affairs Ministry would likely soon decide on the scholarships issue. (Source: Reuters)

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