A few days back, reports about a woman member of the Afghan parliament being deported back from the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Delhi after having flown from Turkey had created quite a flutter. The Afghan MP, Rangina Kargar, arrived at the national capital on August 20, days after the Taliban formally seized control of Afghanistan.
According to the reports then, Kargar was not allowed to enter the country as immigration officials asked her to wait at the airport. The Afghan MP later claimed that she was deported from the IGI airport two hours after reaching Delhi and was sent back by the same airline to Istanbul.
Rangina Kargar, a member of the Wolesi Jirga representing the Faryab province, claims to hold a diplomatic/official passport that facilitates visa-free travel under a reciprocal arrangement with India. Kargar, a Turkmen born in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1985, is not affiliated with any political party and claims to be a women’s rights activist.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kargar stated that she had travelled to India several times on the same passport in the past and was even used to be waived through earlier, however, the Indian immigration officials asked her to wait as they had to consult their senior officers.
Kargar said, “They deported me, I was treated as a criminal. I was not given my passport in Dubai. It was given back to me only in Istanbul. It was not good what they did to me. The situation has changed in Kabul, and I hope the Indian government helps Afghan women.”
Usual suspects accuse the Indian govt of deporting the Afghan MP because she was a Muslim
Soon after the news broke out, the left-liberal intelligentsia in the country, in their bid to attack the Modi government and paint it as anti-Muslim, lapped up the issue and accused the government of exercising religious discrimination. Several of the usual suspects took to social media to insinuate that the government deported the Afghan MP back because she was a Muslim while granting visas to hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs refugees from Afghanistan.
A host of assorted left-liberal journalists, politicians and other personalities shared the news of Kargar being deported by India.
Nidhi Razdan, who worked for NDTV and was recently conned by the whiff of a too-good-to-be-true job offer at the prestigious Harvard University, also shared the article about the Afghan MP being deported by India.
Former Union Minister Manish Tewari even penned an opinion piece, arguing how the deportation of an Afghan MP showed that the government of India did not care about Afghans, notwithstanding the fact that the Afghan parliamentarian did not flee from Afghanistan but had come from Turkey.
Kavita Krishnan, a communist leader who doubles up as a full-time protestor, also tweeted about the raging issue of deportation of the Afghan MP. Krishnan alleged that Kargar was discriminated against because she was a Muslim while Sikh Afghan MPs were treated on par with Indian nationals.
While the leftists were furthering the propaganda that the Indian government was discriminating against refugees from Afghanistan based on their religion, it is worth noting that the Indian government had cancelled all the previously issued visas to Afghan nationals and asked them to travel to India only on an electronic visa (e-Visa). The decision was taken on reports that several of those who were issued physical visas before the Indian Mission closed down in Afghanistan have misplaced their passports.
India scraps sticker visas and introduce a new e-visa process amidst reports of stolen passports with sticker visas in Afghanistan
According to some reports, more than 1,000 visas issued by the Indian embassy and passports with visa stickers were stolen in Afghanistan. A government official later said that the stealing of the visas was the reason why the Centre had introduced e-visas in the first place following the fall of Afghanistan. The official also said that more than 11,000 visas issued by the Indian embassy between August 12 and 14 had been cancelled after thousands of visas were reported to be stolen.
In view of the prevailing security situation and to ensure that no person who does not qualify to travel to India comes to the country, the government streamlined the visa process by the introduction of an “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” starting August 17. The Ministry has said that all Afghans, regardless of their religion, will be eligible for the e-visa and applications will be processed in New Delhi since all the missions in Afghanistan remained non-functional.
It was also reported that Kargar was deported back from Delhi airport, not because of her religion, but because she had failed to furnish valid documents, government officials confirmed on August 26. According to news agency ANI, the government officials said that Kargar was not allowed to move outside the IGI airport as she could neither show any document of her medical treatment in India nor did she have any document of reference from the Afghanistan Embassy.
Sources informed OpIndia that the government had received credible intel reports about ISI-backed stooges going door to door in Afghanistan, rummaging for passports with Indian visa stickers. This was one of the primary reasons why the Indian government cancelled the sticker visas and all visas given to Afghan nationals in the first place. With Afghanistan in throes of chaos and anarchy, and with the reports of stolen passports with visa stickers, the government feared that the ISI might exploit the Afghan imbroglio to push their spies and operatives into India.
There are already reports doing the rounds that the biggest winner from Afghanistan’s collapse is Pakistan, which would indubitably use its nexus of ISI spies and Islamist terrorists it harbours to foment trouble in India. It was recently reported that Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, who is known to have close relations with the ISI, visited Kandahar and met with senior Talibani leaders, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the political committee, for seeking their support in inciting terror in Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India.
Government of India expresses regret to Afghan MP, asks her to apply for an e-visa
To fend off such security concerns, the Indian government scrapped the old visas it had granted before the fall of Kabul and introduced a new electronic visa process for Afghans who wished to travel to India. However, the new visa process inadvertently led to the deportation of Afghan MP Rangina Kargar, who was, perhaps unaware of the change in the visa granting process, had sought entry into India based on her passport with a sticker visa.
The mistake was also acknowledged by the central government on August 27, who reached out to Afghan MP Rangina Kargar and asked her to apply for an emergency visa. Kargar told The Indian Express that JP Singh, the joint secretary in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the Union Ministry of External Affairs, apologised to her about the incident. The Indian government ask her to apply for an e-visa and promised to facilitate if she wanted entry into India.