Afghan MP deportation an error, says Govt, offers her an emergency visa – The Indian Express

The government Thursday said the deportation of a woman member of Afghan parliament from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 20 — it was reported by The Indian Express — was an inadvertent error.

It also reached out to Rangina Kargar, member of the Wolesi Jirga representing the Faryab province, and “apologised” for what had happened. It asked her to apply for an emergency visa.

The issue was raised at an all-party meeting convened by the government to brief leaders on the situation in Afghanistan.

The Indian Express reported Thursday that Kargar arrived at the IGI Airport early August 20 from Istanbul on a Fly Dubai flight. Although she was carrying a diplomatic/official passport which facilitates visa-free travel under a reciprocal arrangement with India, she was sent back by the same airline to Istanbul via Dubai after being made to wait at the airport.

Sources said Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue at the all-party meeting.

“Why did the MEA take such a measure against a veteran politician from Afghanistan who frequently travels to India and holds a diplomatic passport?” the leaders asked External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Sources said the government side replied that it was an unintended mistake because there was “panic” after reports that some passports with Indian visas had been taken away by the Taliban. An alert too had been sounded.

Kharge later told reporters: “We raised the issue of deportation of the woman MP. He (Jaishankar) said it was a mistake and such an incident will not happen in future. They (government) regretted it.”

The government also reached out to Kargar. “JP Singh (Joint Secretary in-charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the MEA) spoke to me. He apologised for what had happened and asked me to apply for an e-emergency visa. I asked him if the official passport is no longer valid, but he did not answer. I told him I had tried for an e-visa for my daughter on (August) 19 but there was no response to the application,” Kargar told The Indian Express.

She said she waited 16 hours at the Delhi airport on August 20, from 6 am to 10 pm, before she was put on a flight back to Istanbul via Dubai.

Ahead of the all-party meeting, Congress MP Manish Tewari, while tweeting The Indian Express report, said he hoped that the External Affairs Minister would explain at the meeting why the Afghan MP was deported despite having valid travel documents. “When we need to be seen standing with the women of Afghanistan we seem to be standing against them. SAD,” he posted on Twitter.

Kargar had a doctor’s appointment at a South Delhi hospital on the day of her arrival, and had an August 22 return ticket for Istanbul. She was travelling alone while her husband Fahim and four children were in Istanbul.

Fahim Kargar is chief of staff in the Wolesi Jirga, and the family arrived in Istanbul at the end of July. A Turkmen born in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1985, she is not affiliated to any political party and describes herself as a women’s rights activist.

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Afghan MP deportation an error, says Govt, offers her an emergency visa – The Indian Express

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