Bharatiya Janata Party leader Virendra Singh has rejected a visa from the United States, after he was reportedly asked to take off his pagdi (turban) at the US Embassy for security reasons. The Lok Sabha MP said, "I am a farmer, and a pagdi is a matter of honour for me. It is also a matter of the country's honour to me. How can I remove my pagdi for the sake of security?"

According to the parliamentarian, who is a known agriculturist, the embassy had interviewed him on farming issues and then invited him to speak on the subject in the US, The Indian Express reported. "I don't want to visit a country that doesn't approve of what I am and what I represent," he told Hindustan Times, adding that it insulted Indian farmers, tradition and culture. He was scheduled to leave on Friday.

Singh, who represents Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi in the Lower House, said he was considering bringing up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry as well as in Parliament. A spokesperson for the ministry said they will raise the issue with the US after he takes up the matter with them officially.