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US denies visa to 8 children for being orphans


Subhajit Sengupta, CNN-IBN
Nov 22, 2011 at 09:18pm IST

New Delhi: Eight young Indians, all orphans and part of a Choir group run by an NGO, have been denied a US Visa despite their NGO having an invitation from a US body.

"It means that we are orphans so we can't dream," said an orphan.

"We practiced for eight months. Now it will all go waste," said another orphan.

It's a dream 22-year-old Pinky Biswas and her team of 8-10 year olds have held close to their hearts for eight months. All orphans brought up by Delhi-based Udayan Care.

They had been chosen to represent India in the World Orphans Choir, touring 20 cities in the US over the next ten months. But two days before their departure, the embassy refused them visas.

They were told they have no ties to bring them back to India, even as delegations from Peru and Liberia have already reached the United States.

"I am frustrated. I knew it might take some effort, but never thought that Visa will be denied," said International Children's Network member Heather Pedersen.

The International Children's Network (ICN), which is organising the Choir, has invitation letters from several US senators and state Governors. The group also has Homeland Security permission to travel through America.

"This is not he first time we are sending delegates to the US. Three delegations have gone earlier as well," said Udayan Care Director Reena Tete.

The embassy, when contacted refused to react to this visa incident and gave a general response.

"The US law prohibits us from disclosing details of individual visa cases. As US law provides for the confidentiality of visa records, the long standing policy of the Department of State is not to comment publicly on individual visa cases," said the embassy.

It was supposed to be a dream trip for the children - a chance to spend 10 months in the US. But inspite of the permission granted by the Homeland Security, the embassy in New Delhi has denied them the visa. They claim that the embassy said their links with India aren't strong enough to make them return to the country.

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