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BJP’s Muslim MP denied US visa

After actor Shah Rukh Khan, former civil aviation minister and BJP leader Syed Shah Nawaz Hussain has got a taste of America’s notorious profiling of visitors. Shekhar Iyer tells more...

india Updated: Oct 20, 2009 01:25 IST
Shekhar Iyer

After actor Shah Rukh Khan, former civil aviation minister and BJP leader Syed Shah Nawaz Hussain has got a taste of America’s notorious profiling of visitors.

Hussain found his last name coming in the way of a quick grant of visa by the US embassy in Delhi. The Lok Sabha MP from Bihar was supposed to join a delegation of MPs to participate in the 64th session of the UN General Assembly.

With Hussain unable to get a visa, the other parliamentarians — Girija Vyas and Sanjay Nirupam (Congress), T.K.S. Elangovan (DMK) and Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) — left for New York on Monday.

The government chooses batches of MPs to participate in the UN session each year.

“I’m utterly surprised to be told that because of my common surname, Hussain, they would’ve to take a longer time to do more checking, in keeping with the American profiling procedures,” said Hussain.

Hussain told HT that his visa application had been sent by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to the embassy, along with that of other MPs.

“I have visited the US several times before — both as a MP and Union minister,” he said. “I can’t understand why I should be singled out. Even the US president has Hussain in his name. What’s more, the US ambassador had sent Eid greetings to me this year with a message from Obama.”

US officials told the MEA’s Americas division that Hussain’s visa could not be cleared by Monday evening due to “administrative processing”.

The US embassy spokesperson said, “We do not comment on individual cases.”

In August, Shah Rukh Khan had been detained and questioned at a US airport. “I was really hassled, perhaps because of my name being Khan,” he had said.