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Afghan students pin hopes on ICCR for their scholarships’ | Pune News


A student from southern Afghanistan, who just completed his MBA degree from a university in Pune, goes to a Sai Baba temple, near his house every night for food. He has neither financial support from his family, which is “stuck” in his Taliban-ruled home country, nor does he have permission to work in India with his student visa.

But lack of money is not his primary concern. It is the prospect of discontinuing studies and having to go back to Afghanistan. Ever since he graduated in July, he has been desperately hoping for an announcement of scholarships for Afghan students by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) that would help him continue his studies and extend his visa. “There is no hope, no job opportunity, nor any future in Afghanistan,” said the student.

“Ignorance is ruling the country and one of the ways to fight that is education. That is why, we are looking up to the Government of India as a friend and request them to provide scholarships to Afghan students.”

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Every year, ICCR announces 3,900 scholarships for students from over 180 countries. However, this year, even as many higher educational institutes concluded their admission process, there have been no announcements of scholarships for Afghan students for the 2023-24 academic session.

Having made several attempts to approach the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and ICCR in Delhi and through mail, students in Pune decided to organise a “peaceful get-together and protest” at SPPU on Saturday.

“Many Afghan students studying in India have graduated this year. But with no scholarships, they will have to go back,” said Wali Rahmani Rahim, president of Afghan Students’ Association in India. Despite a permission letter from the Chaturshringi police station, the students were not allowed to gather at the venue, he said. The Director of International Students Centre at SPPU, Vijay Khare, refused to comment.





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