Hurriyat leader Geelani gets Indian passport, his spokesperson calls it a joke


By Majid Jahangir, Srinagar

After one and half month of wait and controversy, the government of India issued a passport to separatist leader and hurriyat conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Regional Passport Officer (RPO), Kashmir zone, Firdous Iqbal while confirming the issuance of passport told that passport had been issued to Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
“Yes, we have issued passport to Geelani and has been sent to him on his residential address through post. It is an international passport.”

When asked about the validity of his passport he declined to say anything.
” I can’t say anything right now but it is sure that passport has no long validity.”
However, Geelani’s spokesperson Ayaz Akbar said that he had not received it yet.

He told over phone, “we cannot comment on this issue at this moment because we have not received it yet. But we have heard that passport has only nine month validity and if it is a truth than it is a big joke.”

Geelani had appeared at regional passport office to give his biometrics which is necessary for the issuance of passport
Earlier, Geelani had passport in 2007, 2008 and 2011. After five years the separatist leader had applied for passport in May 2015.
The question of issuing passport to Geelani had sparked political controversy after he applied for one. Bhartiya Janta Party had opposed the idea of issuing passport to Geelani saying that he should declare his nationality as Indian and apologise for his “anti-India” activities.

However, BJP’S coalition partner People’s Democratic Party had espoused demand of Geelani passport and had said that it will ask the centre government to grant passport to Geelani on humanitarian grounds.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had said “Syed Ali Shah Geelani should get passport on humanratian grounds. The issue has to be dealt with from humanitarian point of view and we will pursue the matter with Union Home Ministry.”

While filling his passport form he had mentioned “’ Indian” in the nationality column. However, after leaving the passport office he told reporters that “ I am not by birth Indian, it is a mere compulsion.”