2 Arunachal men get stapled China visas, stopped at airport

Itanagar, Jan 12 (PTI) Notwithstanding Chinese Premier WenJiabao''s assurance on the stapled visas issue, two sportsmenfrom Arunachal Pradesh were given such travel documents thatprevented them from boarding a flight today to Beijing.

Indian Weightlifting Federation''s Joint SecretaryAbraham K Techi along with a weightlifter of the state weretaken aback when immigration officials at New Delhi''s IGIAirport stopped them and turned the two men away because ofthe stapled visas issued by the Chinese Embassy.

Techi and the weightlifter, who were to visit thecountry at the invitation of Chinese Weightlifting Associationpresident Menguang for the January 15-17 China WeightliftingGrand Prix at Fujian province, thereafter got in touch withthe Chinese Embassy.

The Chinese officials at the Embassy informed me thatthe ''right'' visas have been issued to us, Techi told PTI.

"This is an insult and unnecessary harassment toArunchalees," Techi said.

Reacting to the incident, Congress Lok Sabha memberTakam Sanjoy said though Sino-India relations have beenimproving with New Delhi and Beijing taking positive steps,the border issue, China''s repeated claims over ArunachalPradesh territory and stapled visas to residents of Jammu andKashmir were contentious issues which were hindrances.

Sanjoy said though India, particularly Prime MinisterManmohan Singh, took very bold steps during Wen''s visit inDecember last year to further strengthen bilateral ties, theChinese government had proved its policy to consolidate itsclaim on Arunachal territory.

During his visit, Wen had said that officials of Indiaand China should have "in-depth" discussions to resolve thedifferences on stapled visas issued to those hailing fromJammu and Kashmir. He also said that China takes India''sconcerns on the issue seriously.

China started the practice of issuing stapled visas topeople from Jammu and Kashmir two years back. India sees thisas an act amounting to questioning the state''s integrationwith rest of the country.

In 2007, China had denied visa to senior IAS officerGanesh Koyu who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh and was a memberof 107 strong IAS officers'' team on a management programme toChina.

A study visit to Beijing and Shanghai, part of aprogramme to learn more about Chinese economic growth andpolicies, was cancelled at the intervention of the PrimeMinister because of Beijing''s refusal to grant visa to Koyu.

Earlier, Vishal Nabam, now advisor to Chief MinisterDorjee Khandu, had visited China on a month-long tourist visain 2006.

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