An Indian musician, who has been playing regularly in the UK for decades, has been turned down for a UK visas to perform at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who is known as an international master in the sarod – a type of lute – had been due to play at the venue in September. He has been travelling regularly to the UK to perform since the early 1970s.
The UK High Commission in India said it would 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”. It was reported that his original application was turned down due to incomplete information.
Mr Khan said he was “shocked and appalled” by the decision to deny him entry to the UK to perform.
His son Amaan Ali said: “This has never happened before. He is someone who has worked all his life for the country and peace. The government should take interest why they (UK) are doing this.”
MP Keith Vaz has written to the Home Office about the visa rejection, which he said would “severely damage” relations between the UK and India.
He said: “I am astonished at this news. Amjad Ali Khan is one of India’s greatest living artists and I cannot believe that his visa has been refused.”
Mr Khan had been due to appear as part of the Darbar Festival in September, performing and talking about his 50-year career as a musician.
The Southbank Centre, which is arranging the festival, said it understood Mr Khan’s visa had been rejected as a result of changes in the visa’s guidelines. It said it was working on the performer’s behalf and hoped that he would still be able to appear as planned.