The world renowned sarod player Indian musician Amjad Ali Khan has secured visa clearance to play a UK concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall on September 18.
Labour MP Keith Vaz supported and helped Amjad Ali Khan during his second visa application after his first application was rejected on August 12 leading Khan to express his dismay on social media tweeting:
“Shocked & appalled. #UK visa rejected. scheduled to perform at the #RoyalFestivalHall in Sep,” he wrote. “Performing almost every year in #UK since the early 70s. Upset to have my visa rejected”
Khan said the application was rejected because of his surname.
“They did not give me any valid reason. I really feel that the visa has been rejected because my name is Khan. It is an obvious case of Islamophobia. They have to realise, that whatever be his/her religion, an artist promotes, love, harmony and peace.”
A Home Office spokesperson said Khan’s application did not meet requirements because of incomplete information.
Mr Vaz said: “I am delighted that Amjad Ali Khan’s visa has now been granted. Britain adores the music of Amjad Ali Khan and I am so pleased we will be able to hear it after all. I want to thank the staff at the British High Commission in New Delhi for dealing with this issue promptly once the technical problem had been identified. We need a long hard look at the immigration rules so that they are seen to encourage Indian people to visit and work in the UK. This is especially so after Brexit. The UK must always be seen to be open to the rest of the world.”
The British High Commission in New Delhi had earlier said: “We don’t comment on the detail of individual cases, but can confirm we will offer to speak to Mr Khan about how he should apply for the correct type of visa to do what he wishes to do in the UK.”
Khan’s appearance will also include a chance to hear the artist ‘in conversation’ about his 50 year career together with his wife Subhalakshmi Khan. Khan’s performance is part of the Southbank Centre’s ‘Classical Season 2016-17’ and the annual Darbar Festival.
Amjad Ali Khan is one of India’s most successful music exports entertaining fans worldwide. Khan, was awarded the Padma Shree title in 2001, India’s second highest civilian honour.His sons Ayaan and Aman are also sarod players.