The Arunachal Olympic Association (AOA) on Saturday condemned China for issuing stapled visas to three Wushu players from the state, saying it is a discriminatory act against the people of the state.
Eight players and four officials were to leave for Chengdu, China on Wednesday night for the World University Games which began on Friday but they were told to stay put by the government after three female players from Arunachal Pradesh were issued ‘stapled visas’ by the Chinese embassy.
“Issuing of staple visa to our three promising Wushu athletes has not only discriminatory act from the part of Chinese but also an insult to the whole nation,” AOA Secretary General Bamang Tago said in a statement.
India had described as “unacceptable” China issuing stapled visas to a few sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh and asserted that it reserves the right to “suitably respond” to such actions.
Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu are the players from Arunachal Pradesh who were issued staple visas. They are part of a 12-member Indian team, which includes eight players, a coach, and three officials.
Four players out of the eight are also part of the Indian wushu team selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“China has now become an important location for international sports events and will continue to host more in the future. In such a scenario, sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh will be deprived in days to come for no fault of theirs,” Tago said.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said India has lodged its “strong protest” with the Chinese side on the matter and there should be no discrimination on the basis of domicile or ethnicity in the visa regime for Indian citizens.
The AOA, meanwhile, has summoned a special general body meeting here on August 5 to chalk out the modus operandi for a democratic movement to register its protest against the discrimination meted to the sportspersons from the state.
“AOA will lead the movement and we will seek intervention from all stakeholders for justice and right of Arunachalee sportspersons to participate in international sporting events,” Tago said.
In the past also, sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh had to miss international events in China due to the ‘stapled visa’ issue.
In 2011, an official of the Indian Weightlifting Federation hailing from Arunachal Pradesh and a weightlifter from the same state were to travel to China to take part in a grand prix event in China but they missed out after they were issued ‘stapled visa’.
The same year, five karate players from Arunachal Pradesh who were to travel to China for a championship met with the same fate, as also two young archers who were to take part in the Youth World Archery Championship.
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