Karan Singh Refuses To Accept Chinese Award15 December 2010
New Delhi: Former regent of Jammu and Kashmir and senior Congress leader Karan Singh today refused to receive a Chinese award given away by Premier Wen Jiabao here for promotion of friendship between the two countries as he did not want to be seen as pro-China. Singh, a Rajya Sabha member and President of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), did not turn up for the award function this evening where Wen honoured nine prominent persons including CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury for fostering Sino-India ties. Significantly, the refusal by 79-year-old leader from Jammu and Kashmir comes at a time when India is peeved at issuance of stapled visas by China to people from the state which amounts to questioning the state's integration with India. Singh, AICC's Chairman of Foreign Affairs Department, turned down the award as he felt that a Parliamentarian should not accept such decorations as he runs the risk of being seen as favouring one particular country, sources close to him said. When contacted, he refused to speak on the issue. Singh, born in Cannes in France, was the son of the last Dogra ruler Hari Singh. He was the Sadr-e-Riyasat (President) of Jammu and Kashmir from 1952 to 1964 before being made the Governor, a post which he held till 1967. China started issuing stapled visas to people hailing from Jammu and Kashmir two years back and has refused to budge though India has been repeatedly asking to end the practice as it amounts to questioning the status of the state. Besides Yechury, the other awardees were Prof Tan Chung, G Viswanathan, G Banerjee, M Mohanty, S Chakrabarty, Bhaskaran, Sherdill and Pallavi Aiyar.