Over a week after Bamang Tago was denied a visa to visit China as manager of an Indian badminton team, the sports organiser from Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday got his passport back through an official of the Badminton Association of India. “I got back my passport only after I wrote to the Chinese embassy on Monday that I will file an FIR for the recovery of the same. The Chinese embassy on Tuesday handed over my passport to Ananda Khare, an official of the Badminton Association of India after constant intervention from the ministries of home and external affairs. Though I too had accompanied Khare to the embassy, I was however not allowed to enter the premises,” Bamang Tago said.
On November 16, Tago, who was appointed manager of the Indian badminton team for the Thaihot China Open Badminton Championship 2016 in Fuzhou in China, had complained that the Chinese embassy in New Delhi had not only denied him a visa, but also informed that his visa required an approval from the Chinese government.
While the Indian badminton team went off the Fuzhou without the manager, Tago lodged a complaint with the ministries of external affairs and home about the embassy’s denial of a visa to him. “They neither issued me a visa nor returned my passport. It was only after I sent an e-mail to the embassy saying I will be forced to file an FIR if my passport was not returned immediately that the embassy responded on Tuesday by calling up the BAI,” Tago said from New Delhi.
A report from Beijing on November 18, however, had quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as having denied Tago’s allegation. According to the report, Shuang claimed Tago had himself cancelled his visa application. Tago, however, immediately denied this and termed the Chinese claim as untrue and absurd.
This was not the first time that China has denied visa to players from Arunachal Pradesh. In 2011, a 5-member karate team on its way to Quanzhou in Fujian province to take part in the Asian Karate-do Championship was stopped by Indian immigration officials at IGI airport, New Delhi for possessing stapled visa issued by the Chinese Embassy.
In Jan 2012, a team of Arunachal weightlifters were prevented to board their flight for possessing stapled visas. In October 2013, two young archers from Arunachal Pradesh could not participate in the Youth World Archery Championship in Wuxi in China again for the same reason.
In January 2012, China had also denied visa to Group Captain Mahanta Pangging, an officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to travel to that country as a member of an official tri-services delegation from India.