External Affairs

China Denies Visa to Indian Badminton Team Manager From Arunachal

Bamang Tago, the manager of a 14-member Indian team, was denied a visa by the Chinese embassy "on ground of Arunachal domicile".

New Delhi: Arunachal Pradesh’s Bamang Tago, manager of the Indian badminton contingent, has been denied a visa by the Chinese government to travel to Fuzhou for the ongoing China Super Series Premier badminton tournament. Tago was denied a visa by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi “on ground of Arunachal domicile”.

Tago, who is also the secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Badminton Association, sought the intervention of union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, in this regard. Meanwhile external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup has said that the issue has been raised with China.

“This matter has been brought to our notice now. The government’s position on differential treatment of Indian passport holders is clear and well known. We have conveyed it to the Chinese side. We expect them to address this issue in the spirit of reciprocity and smooth development of bilateral relations,” Swarup said at his weekly briefing on Thursday.

Tago was to lead a 14-member Indian team on the invitation of the Fuzhou Municipal Sports Bureau to participate in the Thaihot China Open in Fuzhou, which started yesterday and will conclude on November 20. He said he has been in Delhi since November 10 but was not granted a visa.

“When I checked with the Chinese embassy about the status of my visa application, I was told by embassy officials that since I belong to Arunachal Pradesh, an approval from Beijing is required,” he said, adding that there has been no response from the embassy since then.

The Badminton Association of India had submitted all the required documents for the members of the Indian contingent at Chinese embassy in New Delhi several weeks ago to obtain the travel documents. The visas of all other members of the contingent were issued without any problems.

Expressing his frustration at the denial, Tago said, “It has been 54 years since the Chinese aggression of 1962 and 70 years of India’s independence. The issue of Arunachal Pradesh remains unsettled because of the territorial dispute between India and China which has put the future of the indigenous people of Arunachal in uncertainty”.

In 2011, a five-member karate team on its way to Quanzhou to participate in the Asian Karate-do Championship was held back by Indian immigration officials at New Delhi airport as their visas issued by the Chinese embassy were stapled on the passports. In January 2012, a team of Arunachal weightlifters were prevented from boarding their flight for the same reason.

Similarly, in October 2013, two young archers from Arunachal Pradesh could not participate in the Youth World Archery Championship in Wuxi in China, as Indian immigration officials prevented them boarding the flight for the same reason.

“China has now become an important location for international sports events and will continue to host more in the future. In such a scenario, sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh will be deprived in days to come for no fault of theirs,” Tago said.

(With PTI inputs)

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