India has retracted its much talked-about decision to grant a visa to dissident Chinese leader Dolkun Isa. The exiled Uyghur-Chinese leader said he has received an email stating that his permit has been cancelled. “I really wanted to visit India. But I received an email on Saturday informing that my visa which was issued on April 6 has been cancelled. No explanations were given. No Indian official called me personally to convey this decision. It’s a very sad situation for us,” he told The Hindu.

The Ministry of External Affairs has not commented on Dolkun's claim so far. The executive chairman of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress secretary was headed for a major international conference of anti-Beijing activists at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh between April 28 and May 1. He hoped that the other participants are granted their visas so that the conference could go on and their cause was not lost in India. He said he was looking forward to engaging with Indian audiences in the future.

After India decided to allow him to attend the conference, China reacted sharply saying that Dolkun was a terrorist tagged with a red notice by Interpol and the Chinese police, and bringing him to justice was the due obligation of relevant countries. The Uyghur visa was an accident. The interpol list doesn't sync up with India's negative list for e-visas. So revoking the visa was to be expected. The problem was people (both in govt and out) jumping to the conclusion that this was a premeditated act meant to retaliate against the Chinese." Dolkun's forum advocates democracy and human rights in Xinjiang province of western China. The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group, who consider Xinjiang their home. The region was turned into a Chinese province in 1884 under the Qing dynasty.

India's decision to grant him visa was seen by many as a vengeful move as it came right after Beijing stopped Delhi's UN campaign to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed.