After row, China issues normal visa to academic

Special stapled visas were declared invalid

After row, China issues normal visa to academic

 
Amitabh MattooThe Chinese Embassy in New Delhi recently issued a normal visa — duly pasted on the passport and not on a separate sheet stapled to it — to Amitabh Mattoo, vice-chancellor of Jammu University and a domicile of J&K.

Mattoo, according to sources, got a normal visa just a few weeks after New Delhi declared “invalid” the special “stapled visas” the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and its consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata had recently issued to some people from J&K.

The eminent academic had applied for a visa in the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi to attend an international conference on nuclear disarmament in China last month.

Beijing’s decision to issue stapled visas instead of the regular ones is believed to be a tacit attempt to raise questions over the status of J&K as part of India. To buttress its claim on Arunachal Pradesh, China had on several occasions earlier denied visas to people from the state.

However, after New Delhi lodged protests with Beijing, the Chinese Embassy and consulates had issued stapled visas to some people from the northeastern state.
New Delhi reacted after similar visas were issued to people from J&K too.

The immigration officers at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport early last month did not allow a professor of Kashmir University to take a flight to China after it was found that he had been issued a stapled visa. Several other people from the state were prevented from flying to China for similar reasons from different airports across the country.

This was followed by a travel advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, which made it clear that stapled visas would not be considered valid for travel out of the country.

When a Chinese NGO invited Kashmiri separatist leader and All Party Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for a seminar on Muslims in the communist country last month, New Delhi stated that he was free to go if Beijing issued him a normal visa and not a stapled one.

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