The Centre on Thursday said that the deportation of the Afghan MP, who arrived from Istanbul to Delhi on August 20, was an error, reported The Indian Express. The government contacted Rangina Kargar, the MP who represents the Faryab province, and asked her to apply for an emergency visa.
The MP holds a diplomatic passport that allows visa-free travel under an arrangement with the government of India.
Kargar told The Indian Express that JP Singh, the joint secretary in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the Union Ministry of External Affairs, apologised to her for the incident.
Opposition leaders had raised the matter of her deportation at the all-party meeting called by the Centre on Thursday to brief the politicians on the situation in Afghanistan.
Kargar said that the government told her that if she applied for the e-visa, the process would be facilitated, reported India Today. She added that the visa was very expensive. “My one-year-old daughter who I had applied a visa for before coming, still has not got the visa and it has been a week,” she said.
Kargar had told The Indian Express that she has travelled to India many times on the same passport. But on August 20, the immigration officials had stopped her, the MP said. She said that the official told her they needed to consult their superiors.
The MP, who had a doctor’s appointment at a Delhi hospital, said that she waited 16 hours at the airport – between 6 am and 10 pm – before she was sent back to Istanbul.
“They deported me, I was treated as a criminal,” Kargar had told The Indian Express. “I was not given my passport in Dubai. It was given back to me only in Istanbul.”
After the all-party meeting, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge later told reporters: “He [Union minister S Jaishankar] said it was a mistake and such an incident will not happen in future. They [the government] regretted it.”
Ahead of the all-party meeting, Congress MP Manish Tewari had said that he hoped the government would explain why the MP, who had valid travel documents, was deported. “When we need to be seen standing with the women of Afghanistan we seem to be standing against them,” he tweeted.
On her deportation, Kargar had said she did not expect this from Gandhi’s India. “We are always friends with India, we have strategic relations with India, we have historic relations with India,” the MP had said. “But in this situation, they have treated a woman and a member of Parliament like this. They told me at the airport, “sorry, we cannot do anything for you”.”
Kargar was born in Mazar-e-Sharif town in 1985. She is not affiliated to any party and says she is a women’s rights activist, according to The Indian Express.
Kargar had said that she cannot return to Afghanistan as the situation has changed there and also because there were no flights to Kabul. She told the newspaper she will remain in Istanbul and wait for the Taliban to form the government and “see if they allow women to sit in Parliament”.
The MP was travelling alone to Delhi while her husband Fahim and her four children were in Istanbul. Her family had arrived in Istanbul at the end of July. Fahim Kargar is chief of staff in the House of the People of Afghanistan, or Wolesi Jirga.