No Objection to Passport for Geelani: MHA

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NEW DELHI:  The Union government Friday said it will consider the passport application of Hurriyat (G) leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani only after he completes the formalities and indicated that it was not averse to approving it.

“If it comes to us after due formalities, we will think over it…. We have no objections,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters on Friday.

The Home Minister was asked whether the central government will give a passport to the Kashmiri separatist leader.

On Thursday, the External Affairs Ministry had said the passport application of Mr Geelani cannot be processed in its present form as it was incomplete as he has not yet submitted passport fees, biometric details, and photographs.

The Home Ministry had said that a passport is the right of every Indian citizen and is issued by the Ministry of External Affairs after following due process.

“In case any applicant applies for the passport, he should fulfil all the formalities before his case is processed. As and when the matter is referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs, we will process the case on merit,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition partners PDP and BJP are sharply divided over Mr Geelani’s passport issue.

PDP has said it will approach the Centre for giving a passport to Mr Geelani on “humanitarian” grounds while BJP has said he should not be given the travel document till he “apologises” for his anti-national activities.

Sources said Mr Geelani and his family members want to travel to Jeddah and have applied for passports online.

But he has not yet visited the regional passport office in Srinagar to give his biometric data and photograph. As per the new rules, an applicant must visit the passport office in person to give biometric details and get his/her photograph clicked.

I have applied online: Geelani

SRINAGAR:  Huriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani Friday said he has submitted his passport form online and he is yet to go for the biometric procedure due to restrictions placed on him by the police.

Geelani said till now he has only submitted his passport application form online and that until his house detention is not ended, he can not go for the biometric procedure.  “My residence has been converted into a garrison. I am under house arrest. There is a large number police force outside my gate- until, I am not freed, How can I fulfill the formalities,” Geelani said.

He maintained that the media hype given to the issue of his passport was uncalled for and an attempt to complicate the situation.

The octogenarian Huriyat leader said passport is his right and the issue must not be given the political colour. “We live under occupation and it is indeed our compulsion to seek passport under the present system,” Geelani said.

Pertinently, police earlier said that the separatist leader should first complete formalities for the purpose of passport.

A senior police officer said that Geelani has not given his biometrics at the passport office yet. “He shall go to passport office to give his biometrics. He is free to go to the passport office. Till he doesn’t give his biometric he can’t be given the passport. Even prime minister and chief ministers have to go to passport office to give their biometrics,” said the senior cop.

Geelani, who has been under house arrest for most of the last five years, had wanted to see his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia. KNS

Geelani Barred from Friday Prayers Again

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani was today once again forcibly stopped from performing his religious obligation and it is now fifth time in a row from May 1 that he was not allowed to participate in the Friday congregational prayers, a spokesman of the Hurriyat (G) said in a statement this evening.

“Besides Geelani sahib dozens of other Hurriyat leaders and activists were either placed under house arrest or detained in different police stations. They include Tehreek-e-Hurriyat general secretary Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai and Altaf Ahmad Shah who were placed under house arrest while Ayaz Akbar, Mohammad Yousuf Naqash, Firdous Ahmad Shah and Hakeem Abdul Rasheed were detained in different police stations.

While terming the recent statement of police chief that ‘Geelani sahib is a free man’ as a Himalayan lie, he said, “Geelani Sahab was put under continuous house detention after he participated in the Tral rally and from then on his political as well as his social and religious activities have been completely restricted. 

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