The Arunachal Pradesh government on Thursday sharply criticised the Chinese embassy in New Delhi for issuing stapled visas to a team of karatekas from the state and asked the central government to take up the issue at the highest level.
The team on its way to Quanghou City in Fujjian province of China were prevented by Indian immigration officials from boarding their flight at the IGI airport in New Delhi last night for possessing stapled visas issued by the Chinese embassy.
Stapled visas were issued despite the embassy after a prolonged discussion with Indian authorities had agreed to issue regular visas to the Arunachalee Karatekas.
Chief minister Jarbom Gamlin said, "We do acknowledge there has been an ongoing process of deliberations on the border issue with China. But when it is an accepted fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, it is inexplicable why China continues to issue stapled visas to our citizens."
Gamlin said the Centre must not only come out with a strong protest over the 'violation of Arunachalees' right to express their citizenship', it must also take all measures to ensure that this 'insulting practice' was taken up at the highest level apart from coming out with a clear policy stand.
The five-member team including coach Langkung Marik and official Likha Tara were on their way to take part in the Asian Karate-do championship (Junior and Cadet) from July 20 to 25.
The karatekas in the team included Likha Lej (52 kg cadet boys), Tage Saa (65 kg junior boys) and Rei Yadi (53 kg junior girls).
The Chinese action drew sharp reaction from the state MPs and student's organisations.
Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy said he would meet the Prime Minister to appraise him of the feeling in his state while Rajya Sabha Member Mukut Mithi demanded that the Centre prohibit all Indians to visit China.
"New Delhi should either put a ban on Indians from visiting China or allow Arunachalees to visit the country with stapled visas," Mithi said.
The All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) termed the latest development as a setback for the state's sports fraternity.
In 1983, Arunachal Pradesh Assembly speaker TL Rajkumar was refused visa on the ground that he did not require visa being a Chinese.
In 2007, China had denied visa to senior IAS officer Gonesh Koyu who was a member of a 107-strong IAS officers' team on a management programme to China. The study visit was cancelled at the intervention of the then Prime Minister.
In the same year, India had to drop four Arunachalees – Lohit legislator CP Namchoom, IAS officers Tajom Taloh and Tape Bagra and an officer Tasso Butung from an official 48-member delegation that visited China at the invitation of vice-director general of the Science and Technology Bureau in Weifang in Shandong province.