Senior BJP leader and MP Virendra Singh ‘Mast’ turned down a US visa on Friday after he was asked by the embassy officials to remove his ‘pagdi’ for the visa documentation.
“This amounts to insulting Indian farmers, Indian tradition and culture. I don’t want to visit a country that doesn’t approve of what I am and what I represent,” Singh, who is at present representing Bhadohi (UP) in the Lok Sabha told HT. He said he would raise this “insult” in Parliament.
Singh, who is a well-known agriculturist, said he has “no great ambition to see the US” and it was the US Embassy which wanted him to travel to the country to hold discussions on “Indian farmer and traditional farming knowledge”.
“The US Embassy had invited me to the US to attend a function on farmers, where I was asked to give a lecture on Indian agriculture techniques”, he said.
Singh said he went to the embassy for the purpose of visa and was asked to remove his turban. “I refused to do it. It is an insult to me. It is an insult to Indian farmers. I am rooted in my tradition,” he said. “How can I remove my pagdi?” Mast said, adding, “It is my identity. It is my pride. Besides being an Indian and a farmer, I am also a Kshatriya. I can’t compromise with my pride.”
He was scheduled to leave for the US on Friday. Singh said he would soon write to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue.
When asked, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the issue was not officially raised with the ministry but if it is brought up, then the matter will be taken up with the US officials.
(With agency inputs)