The visa applications of both the husband and wife are pending since September despite submission of all necessary documents.
Naveen Kakkar had fled Afghanistan with his wife Sheela and their son Nishant nearly three decades ago. This was the time when the first Taliban regime was ready to take control of Kabul. With the return of the Taliban to Kabul after nearly three decades, religious fundamentalist groups are on the rise again. At the same time, despite submitting all the necessary documents for immersing Nishant’s ashes in the Ganges, the visa applications of the husband and wife are stuck since September.
Three thousand Afghan Sikh and Hindu families are settled in Germany
Nishant, 32, died of a brain attack in February. Naveen Kakkar and his wife Sheela are Hindus from Afghanistan who still hold Afghan passports. Both the husband and wife are waiting for visa permission from the Indian Embassy to travel to Haridwar and give peace to their son’s soul. Many of the nearly 3,000 Afghan Sikh and Hindu families settled in Germany are still unable to obtain visas with Afghan passports for months. The Indian Embassy is either rejecting the applications without giving reasons or has not processed them so far.
Jaganth Gerdeji, president of the Afghan Hindu Cultural Association in Germany, said that at least a hundred visa applications of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are pending, out of which at least 20 are families who went to India for Ganga Ashti Visarjan. Want to He said, “Five more people have died here in the last two weeks. Off the record we were told that there was a security concern for people with Afghan passports. No reason for visa denial has been given to us officially.”
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that visas are taken care of by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). A Home Ministry spokesman said that there is no such policy of denying visas to Afghan passport holders, but the process of issuing visas takes time. Another interior ministry official said, “Visa applications of Afghan nationals have been put on hold due to security reasons since the Taliban came to power. The backlog is being cleared after proper verification.”
Naveen Kakkar told The Sunday Express over phone from Frankfurt, “My son could not walk on his feet all his life. At least he deserves final peace for his soul. We request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to kindly issue our visas so that we can immerse our son’s ashes in Haridwar.”