The paper-visa to Kashmiris surfaced again, after immigration authorities at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi stopped a prominent Kashmiri academician from boarding a flight to Beijing. After Arunachal Pradesh residents, Chinese embassy in New Delhi has recently started issuing paper visa’s to Kashmiris as well, citing reasons that Kashmir is a disputed territory, a move opposed vehemently by the government of India.
Dr. Shakil A Romshoo, Associate Professor at the University of Kashmir, was recently awarded the prestigious Kasumigaura International Award for his research work on “Pollution Modelling of Himalayan Lakes” .
Speaking to HT over phone from New Delhi, Dr Romshoo said that he was stopped by the Indian immigration authorities at Delhi International airport from proceeding to China for receiving the award despite Visa from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi.
“The visa issue is hurting Kashmiris badly, and everybody is getting affected, be it students, businessmen, professionals or even academicians like me. Government of India and China need to sort this matter out before it blows out” said a visibly sad Dr Romshoo.
Dr. Romshoo was to be honoured with the cash prize, medal and citation during a special award Ceremony on 2nd November, 2009 during the 13th World Lake Conference at Wuhan, China.
Despite Invitations by the World Lake Organization, Japanese and the Chinese governments, Dr. Romshoo could not make it to China to receive the award as China is disputing the citizenship of the Kashmiris holding Indian Passports and issues visa on a separate document that the Indian Emigration authorities refuse to accept.
Despite India’s protests, Chinese embassy officials say that the Visas issued to J&K citizens are correct and valid. The tussle between China and India over the issue is adversely affecting business and career prospectus of hundreds of J&K citizens who are not allowed to travel to China for studies or business.