Home Ministry confirms cancellation of Uighur-Chinese leader's visa

Exiled Uighur-Chinese leader Dolkun Isa.

Exiled Uighur-Chinese leader Dolkun Isa.

Indian visa for Dolkun Isa, exiled Uighur-Chinese leader wanted by Beijing, has been cancelled, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed to The Hindu on Monday.

Officials said that the visa was cancelled on finding out that the Electronic Tourist Visa that Mr. Isa had applied for and received was invalid for addressing public meetings in India. However, they said that they would issue him a fresh visa if he applied under appropriate category.

Earlier, Mr. Isa, claimed that he had received an email stating that the Indian visa issued to him was cancelled.

“I really wanted to visit India. But I received an email on Saturday, informing that my visa that was issued on April 6 has been cancelled. No explanations were given. No Indian official called me personally to convey this decision. It’s a very sad situation for us,” Mr. Isa told The Hindu, sounding disappointed over the phone from Berlin.

Mr. Isa, who heads the World Uighur Congress (WUC), a global organisation for the Uighurs in Xinxiang province of . western China, was scheduled to participate in a major international conference of anti-Beijing activists at Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, between April 28 and May 1.

Mr. Isa is preparing in Berlin for a conference on the rights of Uighur refugees to be held on Monday and Tuesday. “Participants from 15 countries arrived for the conference in Berlin and I was looking forward to travel to Delhi next,” he told The Hindu .

He claimed that a Washington D.C.-based Uighur participant for the Dharamsala conference has also been informed of visa cancellation. “I hope other participants at this conference get to travel and at least the larger story of our oppression is not lost to India,” he said.

Mr. Isa had requested adequate security for the trip to Delhi and Dharamsala during which he wanted to meet Indian leaders and civil society activists.

Granting of visa to Mr. Isa triggered a war of words between India and China as the permission for Mr. Isa, was perceived as a counter-measure by India after China stopped India’s U.N. campaign to blacklist Pakistan-based terror mastermind Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed.

However while talking to The Hindu , Mr. Isa reiterated that he remained committed to non-violence.

Despite the emailed cancellation of his Indian visa, Mr. Isa said that he looked forward to engaging Indian audience in future.

In an e-mailed statement to UNI, Dolkun says, he should not be compared with Maulana Masood Azhar. Here is what he said ....

As the Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), I express my disappointment on Indian authorities’ cancellation of my visa to attend the annual Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference taking place in Dharamsala, India, from April 30 to May 1, 2016. This conference remains a vital forum through which ethnic and religious communities in China related areas, as well as statesmen, scholars and activists are able to meet openly to discuss and exchange ideas, promote peaceful dialogue, and reinforce bonds between disparate communities.

The Indian had granted me a tourist e-visa, but it was cancelled after my visit was widely reported in the Indian press. Following numerous reports, Indian authorities then proceeded to rescind the visa on April 23, 2016. I recognize and understand the difficult position that the Indian government found itself, and regrets that my trip has generated such unwarranted controversy.

This is not the first time that I have had faced difficulties in my international travels to advocates Uyghur rights. In September 2009, I was detained briefly and denied entry to South Korea while travelling to attend the World Forum for Democratization in Asia, to which I was an invited guest. China also has regularly attempted to block or interfere with my human rights work at the UN in Geneva, in particular.

I also reject any comparison or association to China’s recent veto by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee of Pakistani militant leader, Mazood Azhar. Such an unjustifiable comparison seeks only to delegitimize my decades of impassioned work as a strictly non-violent campaigner for Uyghur rights.

Historically speaking, the Uyghur community has maintained friendly ties with the Indian people. The Indian government hosted our late leader, Isa Yusuf Alptekin and Uyghur refugees after they fled China in 1949.

Finally, I would like to thank the Indian people for their determined solidarity and commitment to rights activists like myself who wish to continue to develop and support dialogue among peoples of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. I remain disappointed with the final decision, but I am hopeful that positive steps may be taken to maintain India’s relationship with the Uyghur community.

I therefore wish the conference success and hope that meaningful dialogue will take place between those who have the privileged of participating the upcoming conference.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 8:50:07 am |