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BJP MP’s ‘pugree’ latest in the list of controversies between India and the United States

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Lok Sabha MP Virendra Singh refuses US visa.

Virendra Singh

A new controversy has come up on the issue of visas between India and the United States.

A BJP member of the Lok Sabha refused to take the US visa after he was asked to remove his pugree (head gear) at the US Embassy in New Delhi for security reasons, asserting that his turban was a matter of his “traditional honor” which he cannot remove, reported The Indian Express.

Virendra Singh, a three-time Lok Sabha MP and presently representing Bhadohi (UP), said the US embassy had first interviewed him over farming issues and later invited him to visit to their country.

Singh said he went to the embassy on Wednesday for the purpose of visa and was asked to remove his pugree.

“I cannot do it. I am a farmer and pugree is a matter of honor for me. It is also a matter of the country’s honor to me. How can I remove my pugree for the sake of security? I can never do it. It is they (US embassy) who had invited me to visit their country. I refused the visa. I said I am not interested,” he told reporters.

He was scheduled to leave for the US on Friday, Singh said.

Singh is invariably seen in Parliament in pugree and often speaks on the issues of rural concerns, including farming.

When asked, an MEA spokesperson said the issue was not officially raised with the ministry and, when and if, it is done the matter will be taken up with the US officials, reported the Express. Peeved over the issue, Virendra Singh said he is contemplating taking up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs.