Internationally renowned musician Amjad Ali Khan was granted a visa to perform in the UK after a social media outcry and support from MP Keith Vaz.
"I really feel that the visa has been rejected because my name is Khan."
Internationally renowned Indian classical musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was shocked and appalled after his visa application to perform in the UK was rejected on 12th August 2016.
However, after receiving support for his case, on the 19th August, Khan was granted the visa.
Upon rejection, the sarod master took to Twitter to express his anger and disappointment when he was told the news about his visa application.
“Shocked & appalled. #UK visa rejected. scheduled to perform at the #RoyalFestivalHall in Sep,” he wrote.
“Performing almost every year in #UK since the early 70s. Upset to have my visa rejected”
Khan, was awarded the Padma Shree title in 2001, India’s second highest civilian honour.
Talking about the rejection, Khan believes that the application was rejected because of his surname.
“They did not give me any valid reason.”
“I really feel that the visa has been rejected because my name is Khan.”
“It is an obvious case of Islamophobia.”
“They have to realise, that whatever be his/her religion, an artist promotes, love, harmony and peace.”
The musician even tagged Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in his Tweet.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s son, Amaan Ali Khan said “this has never happened before.”
“He is someone who has worked all his life for the country and peace.”
A Home Office spokesperson spoke about the Khan’s application stating that it didn’t meet requirements because of incomplete information.
However, the UK High Commission said they will speak to Khan himself.
“We don’t comment on the detail of individual cases, but we can confirm we will offer to speak to about how he should apply for the correct type of visa to do what he wishes to do in the UK.
Britain’s Indian MP Keith Vaz reacted to the situation on Twitter to express his sorrow:
“I hope this sorry state of affairs can be brought to a swift conclusion,” he said in an statement.
“I look forward to seeing Mr Khan in the UK.”
Khan revealed his delight to be able to perform in the UK, after Keith Vaz wrote to the UK Home Office:
— Amjad Ali Khan (@AAKSarod) August 19, 2016
Khan was very grateful to everyone who helped him:
“I would like to thank everybody for their absolute love extended to me last week over this.
“Was humbling to read all the messages of support. Truly means a lot.”
The musician thanked Keith Vaz personally for his support:
“A special thanks to Keith Vaz for taking such a keen interest in this matter.”
In response to the news, Keith Vaz said:
“I am delighted that Amjad Ali Khan’s visa has now been granted.
“Britain adores the music of Amjad Ali Khan and I am so pleased we will be hear it after all.”
According to the Home Office, for the year ending in March 2016, 531,375 visas were granted (excluding visitors and transit) and 84,663 of these were to Indian nationals.
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