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Afghans Face Growing Violence In India, Minister’s Son Beaten
An office an Afghan software company has been burned in Chennai. Fifty-nine Afghan students including two girls escape from an Indian university and seek refuge in New Delhi after threats to their lives from ordinary Indians. Last week, two Afghan students were seriously beaten and five injured, including the son of an Afghan minister. Afghan embassy in India has asked India police to ensure security of Afghan citizens.
CUTTACK, India—It appears as if India has adopted the same policy that ordinary Australians use against Indian immigrants: beat them when you see them to force them to leave.
Violence against ordinary Afghans is growing fast across India for similar reasons. In a latest incident, at least 59 Afghan students of Ravenshaw University in Cuttack escaped from their university dorms for safety reasons. The group includes two Afghan girls. They did not feel safe even after Indian police protection was assigned to them.
The Afghan students decided to leave the university following a group clash inside the campus on January 13. Two Afghan students suffered serious injuries while five others, including the son of a minister in Hamid Karzai’s government, were left with minor injuries during the clash.
Although the commissioner of police had assured two Afghan embassy officials who had come to Cuttack on January 14 that adequate security would be provided, the Afghan students were not satisfied with police arrangement.
At least 78 foreign students, 69 of them from Afghanistan, were studying in Cuttack under culture exchange program of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The Indian university tried to play down the threat, claiming the students left for New Delhi to meet Afghan diplomats.
“We will take all measures to bring back the Afghan students who joined the university in 2009 as they have only six months left to complete their respective courses”, said Registrar Samarpriya Mishra.
Two officials of Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi arrived here on Friday last and held discussions with the students and authorities on security. The issue has assumed importance as one of the Afghani students assaulted in latest incident is the son of Minister of Water Resources in Kabul.
The Central Government is also sending a two-member team – a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and a high-level official of the ICCR – to probe the incident. Meanwhile, police have shifted around 68 foreign students from their private mess and hostels to safer accommodations.
Two Afghan girl students were moved to the women’s hostel on the campus and the rest of the Afghan students were lodged in safe places as there was a threat to their lives. A report has been submitted by the university to the police. The commissioner police is registering cases and action would be taken, Commissioner B K Sharma said. The two-member Embassy team met university authorities and DCP, Cuttack A N Sinha and discussed issues related to safety and security of the students, who are pursuing their studies here.
They also visited the Afghani students who were beaten up by their local counterparts inside the campus on Thursday and enquired about the incident. University Registrar Smarapriya Mishra said the Embassy officials were apprised of the incident. All steps were being taken to prevent any such incident in future, she added. The Commissionerate police has also been requested to provide security on the campus as the semester exams are underway and the foreign students are appearing for the tests, she said. DCP Sinha assured the officials of providing all assistance to the students. Security has been provided at places where the foreign students are residing. The embassy officials expressed satisfaction on the steps taken by the police. The issue continued to generate heat as media persons, who were also beaten up by the students, staged a sit-in at Malgodown police station demanding arrest of the culprits. Five scribes and photojournalists had been assaulted by the agitating students and had their cameras snatched while covering the rage on the campus. They had filed five FIRs at Malgodown police station. The sit-in was called off after DCP Sinha assured them that all those involved in the incident will be arrested.
The incidents of violence against Afghan students and businessmen in India have become a routine feature. Last month four Afghan students were brutally thrashed in Bangalore. An office of an Afghan software company in Chennai was burned and its Afghan owner was rushed to hospital with very serious burn injuries. In other incidents Afghan drivers and other workers were reported tortured in Haryana, Mumbai and a few other places.
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