Arunachal Pradesh's Bamang Tago, who was nominated manager of the Indian badminton team , has been denied visa by the Chinese government to travel to Fuzhou for the ongoing China Super Series Premier badminton tournament.
Tago, who is also the Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Badminton Association, has been running from pillar to post after he was denied visa by the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi "on ground of Arunachal domiciles", a day after applying for the travel document on November 10.
Tago today sought the intervention of Minister of State, Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju in this regard.
"I have been in Delhi since November 10 but I have not been granted the visa. I am the manager of the Indian team and they are already there playing in the first round today but I am stuck here," Tago told PTI.
"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.
"There has been no response from the Chinese Embassy since then. So today I met Mr Kiren Rijiju and sought his intervention. He told me he will look into the matter and enquire about it and get back to me. I am hoping something positive comes out," Tago added.
Tago was to lead a 14-member Indian team on the invitation of Fuzhou Municipal Sports Bureau to participate in the Thaihot China Open in Fuzhou, which started yesterday and will conclude on November 20.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) had submitted all required documents of members of Indian contingent at Chinese Embassy, New Delhi several weeks back for obtaining the travel documents. But while all other 13 members got their visa without any problem and left for Fuzhou on November 12, Tago have been left behind.
"My visa has been withheld on the ground of me being a domicile of Arunachal Pradesh which is totally a discrimination by China," 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," he said.
In 2011, a five-member karate team on its way to Quanzhou to take part in the Asian Karate-do championship was prevented by Indian immigration officials at IGI airport New Delhi for possessing stapled visa issued by the Chinese Embassy. In Jan 2012, a team of Arunachal weightlifters were prevented to board their flight for possessing stapled visas.
Further, 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 to board 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.
Meanwhile, MEA said that it has taken up with China the issue of visa denial to Bamang Tago and hoped that the Chinese side will address it in the spirit of reciprocity and smooth development of bilateral relations.
"This matter has been brought to our notice now. 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," MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.