Syeda Hameed, author and Padma Shri laureate, has said the UK government denied her a three-day visa to the country, forcing her to cancel a lecture on Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a leader of India’s freedom movement, in London’s Nehru Centre.
Hameed was to speak at the three-day event starting November 22, organised by UK’s Ilmi Majlis, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Nehru Centre, UK, the Indian high commission’s cultural wing.
A former Planning Commission member and a scholar on Azad, Hameed said she was upset to know the grounds on which her application was rejected.
“They said there was no proof that I was a writer. They said they were unsure about who would support me there during the trip.”
Hameed, who a key policymaker on minorities in the UPA administration, said the grounds were very “frivolous”.
She has published over a dozen books.
The British High Commission declined a comment. “We don’t comment on individual visa cases,” an official said.
Hameed, who has visited UK earlier, said she was keen on the visit because Azad’s role as a freedom fighter, his scholarship on Islam and a modernist outlook was important to share with the western world.