Kashmiri athletes denied US visa

Kashmiri athletes denied US visa
Two Kashmiri snowshoers taking part in World Championships in New York on Tuesday claimed they have been denied visas thanks to Donald Trump’s new policy. The US embassy in New Delhi told Abid Khan and Tanveer Hussain that they could not be issued visas due to “current policy”.

“We had submitted all the documents, including sponsorship letters, support letter and financial background,” Khan told this correspondent over telephone from New Delhi. However, the embassy official checked their documents and said the duo cannot be given visas to visit the United States due to the policy in place.

“My dream has been shattered. Our participation in the event would have helped us gather valuable knowledge to enable the J&K government to introduce snowshoeing in the state which it has been contemplating. The state holds great potential for the sport,” said Khan. Shocked by the implications of the travel ban, Khan said: “We are sportspersons and not terrorists.”

This is the first instance of Indian citizens being denied visas after Trump signed the executive order banning Muslim refugees from seven Muslim countries. Event organiser and Mayor of Saranac Lake village in New York, Clyde Rabideau, confirmed the denial of visa to Khan and Hussain on his Facebook page. He also assured the athletes of help, telling them “this won’t stand.”  The 2017 World Snowshoe Championships is scheduled to be held in New York on February 24-25.

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