NEW DELHI: In what is being seen as payback to China’s move to shield Pathankot terror attack mastermind and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, India has granted visa to a prominent Chinese dissident leader, who has been accused of being a ‘terrorist’ by Beijing, to participate in a conference in Dharamsala. Dolkun Isa, a World Uyghur Congress (WUC) leader who resides in Germany, has been invited to the conference being organised by US-based ‘Initiatives for China’.
Munich-based Dolkun Isa has been accused by Beijing of terrorism and conspiracy to kill people in Xinjiang in China’s remote northwest. The WUC is a grouping of the Uyghur community in exile. They, alongwith other Chinese dissidents in exile, are expected to attend and discuss democratic transformation in China. Another Uyghur activist, Rebiya Kadeer, is also expected to visit India soon.
China’s unhappiness over reports that Dolkun has been issued the visa was reflected when Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “What I want to point out is that Dolkun is a terrorist with a Red Corner Notice of the Interpol and Chinese police against him. Bringing him to justice is due obligation of relevant countries.”
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “We have seen media reports and the External Affairs Ministry is trying to ascertain the facts.”
India’s decision to issue visa to WUC leaders, who China sees as backers of terrorism in its volatile Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province, was reported to be in response to Beijing blocking India’s bid to get Jaish chief Masood Azhar banned by the United Nations. Beijing had imposed a ‘technical hold’ on India’s move saying more information was needed on the matter.
Meanwhile, Dolkun Isa has been quoted as saying that he had already been granted visa by the Indian government for the conference but would take a final call only after assessing his security in India, since China has got a Red Corner Notice issued against him by the Interpol.
New Delhi had in the recent past offered visa to Baloch leader Naela Qadri Baloch, who lives in exile in Canada.