Not allowed to fly with stapled Chinese visa: Kashmiri prof

Immigration officials at the Delhi airport on Sunday stopped a professor of Kashmir University from taking a plane to China because they would not accept the stapled visa that China continues to issue to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the professor has said.

Professor Shakeel Ahmad Romshoo, of the department of Geology and Geophysics at the university, said: "I was stopped by Immigration officials at the airport though I had the visa issued by the Chinese embassy. They did not let me go on that visa."

The Chinese embassy staples a visa in a separate sheet to applicants from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. To the people of all other Indian states, it pastes the document on the passport as is the norm. The Indian government, meanwhile, does not accept the stapled visa as valid, sources said.

Professor Romshoo was on his way to Wuhan to receive the Kasumigaura International Award for his research on Himalayan lakes. He would have got the award at the 13th World Lake Conference. On Saturday, prominent urologist Dr Saleem Wani was also stopped at the Immigration on his way to Shanghai - though Immigration officials did not comment on his stapled visa.

Romshoo said: "Despite India's protests, the Chinese embassy officials are adamant that the stapled visa for Jammu and Kashmir is correct and valid." He added: "This tussle between India and China has hindered the business and career prospects of people here."

Sources said an Invasion Biology scholar, who was recently invited to attend a conference in China, could not travel either because of the visa row.

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