The Delhi High Court has expressed concern over Afghans protesting in front of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ office in Delhi, saying the protest could be a “potential Covid super spreader event” as many protesters were also seen without masks.
Afghans in Delhi have been protesting in front of the UNHCR’s office demanding refugee status and resettlement cases to be resolved. They have been seeking better work opportunities in India after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
Justice Rekha Palli asked the centre, the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to coordinate on how the issue can be resolved and to see the protest does not act as a “super spreader of COVID-19”.
Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah, appearing for the petitioner, said residents are facing difficulties in commuting and the manner in which the protesters have gathered is likely to turn into a super spreader event.
The high court issued notices to the Home Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Delhi government, Delhi Police, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Jal Board on the petition by Vasant Vihar Welfare Association.
The residents’ group said “foreign nationals have gathered outside the office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees at B Block in South Delhi’s Vasant Vihar since August 15, including lanes and parks adjoining it and residents are facing difficulties due to this.”
Ahmad Zhia Ghani, head of the Afghan community in India, who has been at the protest since day one, told NDTV, “We are not creating any problems for anyone. We have been peacefully protesting here. We want our demands to be heard and we will not move from here till such time.”