200 e-Emergency X-visas issued to Afghans till Nov 24: Govt informs Parliament
The Union home ministry on Wednesday informed Parliament that 200 e-Emergency X-miscellaneous visas have been issued to Afghan nationals till November 24. This new category of visa was introduced for Afghan nationals after the Taliban took over the country in August.
The special category e-Emergency X-miscellaneous visa was a special category electronic visa introduced by the government to fast-track urgent applications for entry into India. It is issued to foreigners who are not covered in the available categories of visa but need to visit India due to an emergency. The government reviews the emergency application as per the prescribed rules and issues the e-emergency visa accordingly.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union minister of state for home affairs Niryanand Rai further said that 4,557 Afghan nationals are presently staying in India after the extension of their visas.
"In view of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, the Government of India has started an 'e-Emergency X-Misc visa' for a period of six months for Afghan nationals," Rai said while replying to question asked by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Vandana Chavan.
Giving details about the legislation, policy and schemes undertaken by the government of India to ensure safety and standards of living of refugees in India, the minister said, "All foreign nationals (including Asylum seekers) are governed by the provisions contained in the Foreigners Act, 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and The Citizenship Act, 1955 and rules and orders made thereunder."
"The data of foreign nationals who enter into the country without valid travel documents in a surreptitious and clandestine manner, claiming to be refugees or asylum seekers are not maintained centrally," Rai clarified.
Afghanistan came under the control of the Taliban in the wake of the withdrawal of American forces. While the deadline for the US forces to leave Afghanistan was August 31, the insurgent group captured the presidential palace in capital Kabul a fortnight before that.
The lightning speed at which the Taliban seized provincial capital cities like Gardez, Sharana, Asadabad, Maymana, Mihtarlam, Nili, Mazar-i-Sharif, and finally Kabul, left the world in shock.
Thousands of Afghans fled in the country in the wake of Taliban’s advance and sought asylum in nearby countries, including India.