Untold story of permit denial to Chinese Consul Gen now in print
Mum then, ruckus now, case similar
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 28 2010: Much before India woke up to the rude shock of the denial of Visa to senior Army officer, Lt General BS Jaswal by the Chinese authority on the ground that he is in charge of Jammu and Kashmir, a State, which Beijing says is a disputed zone, a hitherto untold but similar incident had unfolded in Manipur in the early part of August this year too.

Lt Gen BS Jaswal is in charge of the coveted Northern Command as GOC-in-C .

The only difference is, it was not an Indian dignitary or an official who was at the receiving end, but the Chinese Consul General based at Kolkata, Mr Mao Siwei.

Chinese Consul General Mao Sewie

The diplomat from China and based in Kolkata was invited by the Dean of Social Science of Manipur University to visit the State from August 9 to 16 and this was gracefully accepted.

Apart from visiting tourist hot spots in the State, the itinerary of Mr Mao included delivering an address on the topic "China and India : Linked but Different Civilisations" .

However the Ministry of External Affairs denied permission to the Consul General to visit Manipur, without citing any reasons.

The post of the Dean in a Central University, of which Manipur University is one such, is a statutory post, created by Parliament and the present Dean is Professor Amar Yumnam of the Department of Economics.

Professor Yumnam has been instrumental in inviting a number of foreign as well as well known personalities of India to Manipur to interact with the students of MU, share ideas and to deliver lectures.

Noted Sociologist and commentator, Ramachandra Guha, economist Kaushik Basu, who is now the Economic Advisor to the Centre, Magsaysay Awardee Mahashweta Devi etc were among those who have graced the academic stage of MU, under the initiative of Prof Yumnam.

Manipur comes under the Protected Area Permit and Restricted Area Permit, both thought to be archaic laws in this modern world, but for reasons, which have not been explained so far, these two Acts continue to lord over who should visit and who should not visit Manipur.

To visit Manipur, following the invitation from the Dean of Social Sciences, Prof Amar Yumnam, Mr Mao formally approached the Director of External Affairs Ministry, branch Secretariat, Kolkata, R Shiva.

Being a diplomat enjoying certain immunity, Mr Mao was informed that he does not need Protected Area Permit but should inform the MEA of his planned visit with the same matter to be referred to the Chief Secretary of Manipur.

However, the MEA, without assigning any reason denied permission to the diplomat to visit Manipur as planned.

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