India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees.

Hundreds of Afghans living in India protested against the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and demanded refugee status in this Hindu majority country.

Afghan refugees gathered outside the UNHCR office in New Delhi on Monday to demand justice and security for the future of Afghan children and women.

Most people said that they fled to India more than 10 years ago, but still have not been recognized as refugees, fighting with complicated bureaucratic registration procedures.

Since India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, the system is under pressure due to a backlog of years.

People protest outside the UNHCR office in New Delhi [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

According to data from the UN refugee agency, as of 2019, Afghans accounted for about one-third of the nearly 40,000 refugees registered in India.

But there are many more people who are not registered with the agency.

With the Taliban taking control of the country, the demand for refugee status in the Afghan community in India has increased.

Many Afghans worry that the Taliban will wipe out the achievements of decades since the 2001 US-led invasion, especially for women.

When the organization ran the country in the late 1990s, it imposed Islamic law, Forcing many people to live in isolation, especially women and girls who are prohibited from receiving education and most jobs.

This time, the Taliban demonstrated themselves as a more moderate force, amnesty those who fought with them, and announced that they would respect women’s rights “in accordance with Islamic law.”

As of 2019, Afghans account for about one-third of the 40,000 refugees registered in India [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Meanwhile, on Sunday, an Indian Air Force plane carrying 168 people landed at the Indian Air Force base near New Delhi from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India stated that the passengers included 107 Indian nationals and 61 other people, but did not specify the nationalities of these 61 people.

Another group of 87 Indians who were evacuated from Kabul to Tajikistan by the Indian Air Force on Saturday landed at New Delhi Airport on Sunday, including two Nepalese nationals.

After the Taliban swept Kabul, India began to evacuate its citizens last Sunday.

The Press Trust of India said that about 400 Indians are believed to be trapped in Afghanistan.

There is no official data on how many people are left.

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