US denied visa because I am a Muslim: IMA president

July 5th, 2008 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS)”Sir, your name is linked to Washington, you cannot attend the conference.” This is what the US embassy allegedly said while denying a visa to Mohammad Abbas, president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). “This is not my first foreign trip. I applied for the visa only after top doctors’ body invited me. I think they denied me visa because I am a Muslim,” Abbas told IANS.

“This is sad and ridiculous. They told me to get a new set of photographs from a specific studio. I submitted the required fee, the invitation letter, three years income tax return papers and fulfilled all their requirements.

“They told me ‘Sir, your name is linked to Washington, you can not attend the conference this time. We are sending your paper to Washington and shall wait for the response’. But for what?” asked Abbas, a medical practitioner from Cuttack.

He said during his professional career of 34 years, he has visited many countries without any problem.

“The day before the US consulate in Kolkata called me for an interview in June, I had returned from Australia. Saturday night I am going to England to attend the annual conference of British Medical Association.

“I have visited many countries even the US earlier. But now they are treating me with suspicion. This is sad and ridiculous,” Abbas added.

The Indian Medical Association is the apex doctors’ body of the country with over 180,000 doctors as its members.

He said the IMA has written to the health ministry, the external affairs ministry and the prime minister’s office complaining about such “misbehaviour” by the US embassy.

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