Of the 24-member India team bound for the Chinese city of Wuxi, Mihu Maselo and Yumi Sorang from Arunachal Pradesh were not allowed to board the China Southern Airlines flight to Guangzhou from the Indira Gandhi International airport on Thursday night.
The archery federation has also asked the Indian officials to lodge a protest with the organisers of the meet. Malhotra expr-essed surprise over the attitude of the Chinese embassy officials. “They are playing a game. It needs to be addressed properly at the highest level,” he said. Earlier too, players from Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir have been issued stapled visas by the Chinese embassy, despite the issue being raised by Indian government.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki also expressed his concern over China’s visa policy for people from his state. “We strongly object to the grant of stapled visas,” he said. But the external affairs ministry did not comment on the issue. The incident comes ahead of PM Manmohan Singh’s planned trip to China later this month.
By grounding the two teenage archers, the Chinese embassy has also spoiled India’s chances of competing in the team event in the compound category. “It’s big setback for the youngsters as two key players couldn’t board the flight,” said a functionary of the federation. The weeklong event also assumes significance as it will act as qualification for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing, China.
For Maselo and Sorang, it was their second international event. Earlier, the duo had participated in a continental event in Mongolia. Their chances of competing in the World Cup are remote now. The archers, who are yet to return to Arunachal said, “We were prepared for the meet, but couldn’t go,” said Sorang.