New Delhi: On Monday morning, hundreds of Afghans living in Delhi gathered outside the UNHCR office, demanding the status of refugees and the processing of their application for countries willing to accept them as immigrants. As an Afghan refugee, Ahmad Khan Anjam said, ‘We will continue to protest until our demands are met. We are grateful to the Indian government for its support, but we want UNHCR to give us our rights as refugees’.
In case the issue is not resolved, some protesters claimed to be planning a hunger strike. ‘If the UNHCR doesn’t meet our demands, we’re ready to start a hunger strike,’ said a protester. The Afghans intend to continue their protest outside UNHCR’s office. Women and children were provided with coolers as they slept on the roadsides. However, they were denied power connection by the UNHCR office.
Vasant Vihar’s residents were visibly worried about the Afghan protesters flouting Covid-appropriate norms. Refugees did not wear face masks and slept in front of people’s houses. ‘We don’t want them evicted forcibly. They have already suffered so much. We hope things get resolved soon since protesters are not wearing masks, and we are worried about the Covid outbreak. Also, too much garbage is being thrown on the road, which is a concern,’ a local resident said.