When Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced more rigorous background checks on foreign doctors applying for visas to work in Britain, panic spread through India's medical community, whose highly skilled professionals have always found it easy to work and study abroad.
The prime minister's announcement this week followed the disclosure that, among the medical professionals being held in connection with the failed bombings in Britain, three are from a single family in Bangalore. It was the first time that Indian Muslims have been accused of being linked to a possible al-Qaeda plot.
In emotional television broadcasts, Indian political and medical leaders said they worried that it would be harder to get visas to Britain and that Indian professionals living abroad would face racial profiling.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, displaying rare emotion while speaking with journalists Thursday in New Delhi, said that he had spoken with Brown on Wednesday evening. Singh said he told Brown that he was "against all labeling of terrorism by nationality." Singh also said: "A terrorist is a terrorist and has no religion or community. As a Sikh I know what it's like to be called a Sikh terrorist." [Link]
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