India

India cancels Chinese dissident leader's visa

Uighur activist Dolkun Isa Image copyright AFP
Image caption Uighur activist Dolkun Isa said he was "disappointed" by the Indian government's action

India has cancelled the visa of Chinese dissident leader and Uighur activist Dolkun Isa after a protest by Beijing.

Mr Isa, chairman of the World Uighur Congress, was due to attend a conference next week in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.

He said he was "disappointed" by the Indian government's action.

Earlier reports said Delhi had granted Mr Isa a visa after China blocked India's bid to get the UN to ban Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, had criticised India's move and described Mr Isa as a "terrorist" with an Interpol red-corner notice against him, leading to Delhi rescinding his visa.

Uighurs are an ethnic minority community from China's western Xinjiang region and have a long history of discord with Beijing. They are Muslims and regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

"I express my disappointment on Indian authorities' cancellation of my visa to attend the annual Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference taking place in Dharamsala from 30 April to 1 May," Mr Isa, who lives in Germany, said in a statement.

He confirmed that India had granted him a tourist e-visa which was cancelled on 23 April.

"I recognise and understand the difficult position that the Indian government found itself, and regret that my trip has generated such unwarranted controversy."

The democracy conference in Dharamsala is being organised by the US-based Initiatives for China and Uighurs, and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in-exile, is also due to attend the meeting.

More on this story