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Afghan parliamentarian not allowed to enter India, says ‘treated as criminal’

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Photo: Facebook/ Rangina Kargar

An Afghan woman, who is also a member of the country’s parliament, said she was not allowed to enter India and was deported from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 20.

The parliamentarian Rangina Kargar, a member of the Wolesi Jirga where she represents the Faryab province, told The Indian Express that she arrived at the IGI Airport early August 20 from Istanbul on a flydubai flight days after Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

The report said Kargar holds a diplomatic/official passport which facilitates visa-free travel under a reciprocal arrangement with India.

Kargar had travelled many times to India on the same passport in the past but this time, immigration officials asked her to wait. “They told me to wait till they consult their superiors,” the report quoted Kargar, who has been a parliamentarian since 2010, as saying.

She told The Indian Express that after waiting for two hours, she was sent back by the same airline to Istanbul via Dubai. “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,” the 36-year-old Kargar was quoted as saying.

She said no reason was given for the deportation, but “it was probably related to the changed political situation in Kabul, maybe security”.

Pertinently, two days after she was deported, India welcomed two Afghan Sikh MPs, Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honaryar — Honaryar is the first Sikh woman to have entered the Afghan parliament. Unlike Kargar, they arrived on evacuation flights arranged by Delhi.

“Those flights were meant for Indians and Afghan Indians, not Afghans,” the report said quoting Kargar.

She said she had a doctor’s appointment at 11 am at a South Delhi hospital on the day of her arrival, and had an August 22 return ticket to Istanbul.

“I never expected this from Gandhiji’s India. We are always friends with India, we have strategic relations with India, we have historic relations with India. But in this situation, they have treated a woman and a member of Parliament like this. They told me at the airport, sorry, we cannot do anything for you,” the parliamentarian was quoted further saying.

 

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