Mumbai: A couple from Afghanistan with a one-year-old girl fears going back to their country and is seeking permanent asylum from the Indian government.
26-year-old Arifulhaq Poya, along with his wife Sadiya Poya and a year-old baby girl, are currently staying in Mumbai. Arif and his wife are being helped by a local social activist, Sadhaya Fernandes, who gave shelter to this Afghan family.
Arifulhaq says he was employed in the Afghanistan government's election commission, but under a scholarship scheme, he had come to Goa to pursue MBA in 2019 with his wife.
"Recently I had completed my masters but just before I was planning to go back to Afghanistan the Afghanistan government was toppled by the Taliban. Since then we are staying with Sandhya Fernandes in Mumbai," he said.
He further said, "My visa is about to expire soon and if I go back to Afghanistan I fear that I may get killed as the Taliban are looking for government employees who had worked for the previous government in Kabul. I was working with the election process which is the backbone of any democratic system. I fear for my life there. We have been hearing from our relatives there that the Taliban made certain things mandatory for women and men as per their law."
Arifulhaq added, "I want to request the Indian government that they should help us by providing a work permit or permanent asylum so that I can secure my family."
Sandhya Fernandes said, "We met Arif and his wife Sadiya when she was pregnant and having complications with his unborn baby. After knowing the problem, I and my few friends have come forward to provide medical help. But after getting the treatment, we saw the problem of the Taliban. Arif didn't have a place to live and money, so I brought him to my house, and for the last one and half months, they are staying in my house.
"We are trying to reach government agencies seeking help by way of long time visa or work permit for them so that they live here with dignity till Taliban issue gets resolved," she added.