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India tightens visa scrutiny for peace activists – Dawn

[MISC, Saturday, 20 February 2010 10:48 No Comment]

Indian visas for peace activists among other participants from Pakistan, China and Bangladesh invited by NGOs to conferences here could become harder to get after the home ministry was reported on Friday to have asked for all applications to be referred to it.

“As per the revised procedure, the security clearance for grant of Conference Visa is required from the MHA (ministry of home affairs) in respect of participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistan origin and stateless persons,” The Indian Express said.

“Participants from other countries can obtain a Conference Visa from the Indian Mission concerned on production of either the invitation letter from the organiser, event clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs, administrative approval of the nodal ministry, political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs or clearance from the State Government/Union Territories concerned,” it added.

Indian peace activists were planning to host a People’s Saarc in April ahead of the summit meeting of the eight-nation club in Thimpu, but they fear the new rules could stymie the plan. “We may have to shift the venue to another Saarc location if the going gets rough,” Jatin Desai, one of the organisers of the proposed people’s meeting, said.

The Express said the new rules required nodal offices and ministries to ‘strictly adhere’ to them with regard to foreign participants coming to India for attending international conferences, seminars and workshops.

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