Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Friday declared himself an Indian and said that getting an Indian passport for travelling abroad was a compulsion and that he was “not an Indian by birth”.
“I am not an Indian by birth. It’s a compulsion that we have to travel with an Indian passport,” said Geelani as he came out of the passport office at Boulevard in Srinagar.
“Geelani submitted his biometric data — finger prints and iris scan — at the designated counter,” an official of the Regional Passport Office told a news agency. He further added, “He (Geelani) mentioned ‘Indian’ in the nationality column.”
Reportedly, Geelani had earlier told a news agency that he left the column blank.
According to Hurriyat Conference, Geelani applied for the passport to see his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia. His application for a passport had led to a debate which saw coalition partners, BJP which wanted an apology from Geelani for his ‘anti-national’ activities, and PDP which viewed the issue as a ‘humanitarian matter’, bitterly divided on the issue.