Pay rent or vacate: K'taka landlords to Afghan students

Pay rent or vacate, landlords in Karnataka tell Afghan students

Most of them used to get $300 (Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000) per month from their families

Afghans residing in India take part in a demonstration outside the UN Refugee Agency ( UNHCR) office in New Delhi. Credit: AFP Photo

As the Taliban mayhem continues in Afghanistan, students from the war-torn country who have come to Bengaluru to study are facing challenges on multiple fronts. Most will be out of accommodation facilities by next month and they have no clue on whether they will get financial support from their parents.

Those who are giving their final semester exams are worrying that they will have backlogs, while juniors are concerned about paying exams fees. Meanwhile, the landlords in Bengaluru have started asking for rents and the young Afghans do not know where to go. The Afghan students are struggling to pay an exam fee of Rs 800 to Rs 3,000. Many landlords have warned them if they are not giving rent they will have to vacate.

Most of them who have come on self-financing and scholarships are facing the challenge of survival. The worrying factor has been they will have to survive without any support from their homes.

The Federation of International Students Association (FISAB) has been writing to universities in Bengaluru and the government to address the problem, but they are yet to respond.

Sudanese national Montaser Mohamaden, the President of FISAB and also an MBA student in Krupanidhi College of Management in Bengaluru, explained that there are about 250 students from Afghanistan studying in the city.

Most of them used to get $300 (Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000) per month from their families. They would spend it on paying rents, food, education fee and other basic necessities, he said.

Read | 'Our dreams are shattered': Afghan woman in Bengaluru fears for her family back home

Since then, the nation has sunk into a crisis; the parents who are facing the challenge of survival back at home will not be able to send their children money. Unfortunately, Afghan students are not in a position to return to their country, Montaser says.

The Afghan students are starting to worry about expenses on food and the owners have already started asking them for rents.

"Now, they don't know where to go. As an organisation we are looking forward to help from organisations and individuals who can support them at this juncture," Mohamaden added.

"We are requesting universities to sympathise with Afghanistan students. They are fearful that they will have backlogs which will compel them to study one more year. At least final semester students must be helped."

Afghan students are getting scholarships from Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), a wing of the External Affairs Ministry.

Many students who are under this programme will get scholarships until they are studying the course. But the ones who will complete their courses next month will stop getting the scholarships.

"We request the government to extend their study programmes by providing an opportunity to take up internship programmes or supporting them to take up higher studies," Mohamaden said.

Also Read | Twin worries grip Afghan students in Karnataka

Atifa Omid, a student from Afghanistan and Joint Secretary of Federation of International Students Association, explained that after examinations hostels don't allow students to stay.

Back in Afghanistan everything is closed and the student community is not able to pay their rents, examination fees, she noted.

"They are finding it difficult to pay an examination fee of Rs 800 to Rs 3,000. The Afghan students will be out of accommodation from next month. Our friends are meeting philanthropists and politicians seeking help. Hope it is coming.

"It is very hard for us to prepare for exams and attend. The education department should consider giving grace marks on humanitarian grounds, as many are living in uncertain conditions. They don't know what is going to happen to their parents and families," she said.

Mysuru University has announced that it will act as a caretaker of Afghan students and discuss visa problems with the government for them to stay back in India until things settle down in Afghanistan.

Congress President D K Shivakumar has stated that Afghanistan students must be taken care of and supported.

Mohamaden has made an appeal to help them. Donors can contact him and get in touch with the Afghan student community.

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