Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

Wildlife Biologist Denied Rights Due to his Religion!!?


First religious profiling of Muslim scientist, now US embassy tries to save its face

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: A day after TwoCircles.net reported about the denial of visa to the prominent Indian wildlife biologist, Fayyaz Khudsar, by the US embassy, the embassy made some ridiculous attempts to save its face.
On 29th June at 9:32 am the embassy sent Mr. Khudsar an e mail, asking him to submit verification of the local police station and that of regional passport office. Then at 4:30 pm on the same day, the embassy sent him another e mail saying that he should know that he has been asked to submit the above mentioned documents.

[Photo by delhigreens.com]
Reacting to this development, Mr. Khudsar told TCN that “those two e mails by the US embassy are nothings but desperate attempts to save its face. Every body knows that the verification part comes at the very beginning of visa application. It’s ridiculous that after taking my interview thrice and assuring me that I will get visa very soon, they are asking for police verification.”
The whole episode has been very painful to him whose schedule of the entire month got disturbed.
“If they didn’t want to give me visa, they should have denied me at the very beginning., that would have been perfectly fine with me but this is not only very painful and humiliating but also a denial of my legal rights.”
Now he is thinking of legal action against the concerned authorities.
“I have been a fighter all my life. I have fought for environmental causes, now I will fight for my rights and dignity. The embassy authorities had no right to treat me the way they did and I will fight against it.”
Fayyaz, along with a team of 10 other wildlife conservationist, had got the invitation by the Virginia based prestigious Smithsonian institute to attend a two week training programme at the institute. While the rest of the team went ahead and attended the scheduled programme, he could not go because he had not got the visa before 1st of June the official date of start of the programme.
TCN got to know that he was the only Muslim member of his team. While the rest of the team had got its visa within two days, he was denied the visa without any explanation; and after one month and 24 days he has been asked to submit his police verification documents.
Although Mr. Khudsar doesn’t want to highlight his religious identity and is scared of the controversy that it might otherwise generate. Talking to this correspondent, from the beginning of this episode, he has been very quick to dismiss any possibility of religious profiling and to be on safe side, has instead claimed racial profiling.
But any body can say that, had it been the case of racial profiling, his other 10 team members would not have got visa within just two days of their application.
So it doesn’t take much to conclude that, the way the US embassy has handled the whole affair, smacks of religious profiling.

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