Visa issue stumps Tamang

Visa issue stumps Tamang

China stick to old ways, halting Arunachal shooters trip to Beijing

Visa issue stumps Tamang

Pemba Tamang

Tamang, who was stopped by immigration officials in Mumbai from boarding a flight to Beijing for the April 17 to 24 event as his passport had the "invalid" visa, which China issues to Indians from Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.Since the Rapid Fire shooter's event at the World Cup starts only on April 21, he tried to get a fresh visa but could not.
"The Federation tried to get a visa for me but it couldn't so now I will have to skip the World Cup. I am very disappointed," the shooter, who won a gold in the Men's 25 metre rapid fire pistol (Pairs) with Vijay Kumar at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, told PTI.

Tamang, a resident of Arunachal, said he was not aware of the fact that the Ministry of External Affairs had declared stapled visas as invalid for travelling out of the country in an advisory issued last year in November.

"I had travelled to China on a paper visas on three previous occasions and I was wasn't aware that the government had declared them invalid. If I had known, I would not have accepted the visa when it was issued to me," Tamang said.

Recalling the sequence of events in Mumbai, Tamang, who is part of a 28-member team for the World Cup, said he was stopped by the immigration after checking in.
"We were boarding the flight from Mumbai for the World Cup. We were first supposed to go to Bangkok and from there to Beijing. Immigration officials told me that my visa was not valid as the government does not accept stapled visas.

"I tried to explain that I had travelled on such a visa three times earlier but they said the new guidelines don't allow it anymore," he said from Pune.The National Rifles Association of India's secretary Rajeev Bhatia said, "He was issued a paper visa because he is from Arunachal while the rest of the team got the normal pasted visas."

"It is true that he has travelled to China in the past on a stapled visa but the government guidelines right now prohibit that. We tried getting a visa for him again but couldn't and he has been told to go back to Pune now," he added.

Last year, the External Affairs Ministry had slammed China for issuing separate visas "to certain categories of Indian nationals on the basis of their domicile, ethnicity and/or place of issue of the passport."