Kashmir Muslim athlete denied US visa due to 'current policy'

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Tanveer HussainImage source, Abid Bhat
Image caption,
Tanveer Hussain's coach said all his papers were in order

A snowshoe athlete from Indian-administered Kashmir has been denied a US visa amid fears he may have fallen foul of new US immigration policy.

Tanveer Hussain, 24, was scheduled to participate in the 2017 world snowshoe championship at Saranac Lake, New York.

His coach says a US embassy official told him she could not help him due to "current policy" but did not elaborate.

India is not among the seven nations whose citizens are barred from entering the US under new immigration rules.

Individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen face a 90-day visa suspension under the executive order signed by US President Donald Trump last week.

Clyde Rabideau, the mayor of the county where the tournament is due to be held, said on Wednesday that two senators had contacted the US embassy in Delhi for more information.

The embassy in Delhi would not comment on individual visa applications for reasons of privacy, but emphasised that Indian citizens are not affected by the recent executive order.

Mr Hussain's coach, Abid Khan, said all his documents had been in order.

"We had local government recommendation and also the invitation and verification letter from the New York snowshoe federation. But as soon as a lady visa officer at the US embassy in Delhi read our names, she went inside a cabin and came back after a few minutes. She said she was sorry, but that she could not help us due to the current US policy," he told the BBC.

Mr Trump has denied allegations that his executive order amounted to a "Muslim ban".

Tanveer Hussain had participated in the world snowshoe championship last year too.

Mr Rabideau said that with the intervention of US senators, they hoped the "issue is resolved quickly and we can get on with our international friendship".