Lamia Rashid & Najaha Nauf
June 8, 2020 Outrage spewed online after a video went viral of a car set ablaze in Iran’s central Yazd province, with Afghan refugees on board..
Three of the refugees were killed and four injured, according to a statement made by Afghanistan’s foreign ministry on Friday, adding that the ministry “considers the incident to be very unfortunate and calls for a serious investigation.” The vehicle allegedly caught on fire after it was shot at by Iranian police.
Local media reports said police in Yazd province confirmed that the car was targeted by security forces after it did not stop at a checkpoint.
Disturbing footage shows one of the survivors, a young boy who has suffered burns, walking and asking for water. His words have been turned into the hashtag #کمی_آب_بیار_که_سوختم which translates to ‘Give me some water I’m burning.’
The incident garnered widespread attention on social media with users drawing comparisons to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of US police in Minneapolis. The hashtag #AfghanLivesMatter was trending on Twitter, with people highlighting the mistreatment of Afghans in Iran.
The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Tehran, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal, has subsequently met with survivors and Yazd province government officials, to discuss the tragic incident.
The incident comes at a time of strained diplomatic relations t between Kabul and Tehran, after Afghan officials accused Iranian border guards of torturing and drowning dozens of Afghan migrants, with more than 30 people thought to be dead.
Iran currently denies the allegations, with both countries agreeing to jointly investigate the matter at a later time.