Internationally acclaimed sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has been denied a visa to the United Kingdom, he announced on Facebook on Friday. A post by the Padma Vibhushan awardee read, “Shocked & appalled (sic)… I am scheduled to perform at the Royal Festival Hall in September.” Khan said he has played in the UK nearly every year since the 1970s, “including performances for the Prince of Wales on many occasions”.
The 70-year-old called the rejection an “extremely sad situation for artists who are spreading the message of love and peace across the globe.” He told The Indian Express, “I have not been given a reason for the rejection. There never is. But a lot, I think, has to do with the current situation in the world.” He added that he has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and said that he is committed to performing at the event.
Khan’s post came hours after the United States’ ambassador to India Richard Verma apologised to Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan for being detained at Los Angeles airport. The 50-year-old actor had tweeted expressing his frustration after the incident. The actor has been detained by US airport authorities earlier too – once in 2012, and also in 2009.