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Musician Amjad Ali Khan : British Visa Denied Because My Surname Is Khan


Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan’s application for a British visa had been rejected last week. He had applied for the Visa to travel to the UK for a performance at the Royal Festival Hall this September.

 The musician believes that the rejection had something to do with his last name – Khan. “They did not give any valid reason. I really feel that my visa has been rejected because my surname is Khan. It is an obvious case of Islamophobia. They have to realise that whatever be his/her religion, an artist just promotes love, harmony and peace. I spoke to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and she has assured me that she will take up this issue. I hope I will be able to perform in London as per schedule.”

This incident garnered a lot of media attention as it comes just a few days after Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan was detained in the US airport for the third time.

Read: Shahruku Khan detained at US airport for the third time; finds solace in PokemonGo

Amjad Ali Khan was headed to the UK to take part in a reflection of his decades-long career as one of the icons of the ‘sarod’.  He was also scheduled to be part of a double-bill concert, sharing the stage with Hindustani classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal.

The musician was initially shocked at his rejection and expressed his disappointment through a series of tweets directed at Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Indian High Commission in London and the British High Commission in New Delhi.

Amjad’s son Amaan Ali speaking to ToI, said, “This has never happened before…He is someone who has worked all his life for the country and peace. The government should take interest why they (UK) are doing this.”

A spokesperson for the British High Commission said that Khan’s Visa application was rejected as it did not fit their requirements. “All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits, and applicants must provide evidence to show they meet the requirements of the immigration rules. On this occasion we were not satisfied that Mr Khan met the requirements of his visa. We will offer to speak to Mr Khan about how he should apply for the correct type of visa to do what he wishes to do in the UK.”

Meanwile, British MP Keith Vaz has sought an explanation from the UK Home Office over the Visa denial. “I am astonished at this news. Amjad Ali Khan is one of India’s greatest living artists and I cannot believe that his visa has been refused. I have today written to the Home Office and asked for an explanation and for a reversal of the decision.
Relations between the UK and India can be severely damaged by this kind of action. I hope that this sorry state of affairs can be brought to a swift conclusion and I look forward to seeing Khan in the UK,” said Vaz.

Feature image courtesy: Ndtv





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