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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

J&K girl gets passport

PTI   Srinagar, August 06, 2013
First Published: 16:09 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 16:10 IST(6/8/2013)

The 'American dream' of a 15-year-old girl from an orphanage in Jammu and Kashmir to study in the United States is all set to come true as authorities on Tuesday issued a passport to her which she had claimed was denied earlier due to her uncle's militant past.

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"We have issued the passport to Sufaira Jan today. Her police verification was received last evening," regional passport officer, Srinagar, Firdous Iqbal told PTI.

Sufaira, hailing from Budgam district of central Kashmir, had applied for the passport after she got a one-year US scholarship under the India-US youth exchange study programme in March.

She had claimed the CID did not clear her case for issuing passport as her uncle was a militant, who surrendered before the authorities in 1995 -- three years before she was born.

"The government doesn't understand that if my uncle was a militant in the past, and has now surrendered and lives a normal life, what is my fault? I am not a militant," Sufaira said.

However, authorities including chief minister Omar Abdullah had said at no level had been the application of the girl been rejected and was going through the regular process.

"I am sure she will get the passport within next few days. The process is underway... we have not rejected (her application) at any level. There nothing adverse against her in any of the reports compiled by various departments," Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here yesterday.

Earlier, Omar, through social networking site twitter.com, pledged that she won't be denied the travel document.

"Needless to say she will NOT be denied a passport because of her uncle's past. All such pending cases of previous denials are being cleared," Omar had tweeted.

CID inspector general B Srinivas told PTI yesterday that the girl had applied for passport only three months ago.

He said the verification has been completed and the final letter will be sent to the Regional Passport Office here in a couple of days.

"The girl in question has got clearance both from police and CID and as such no one can deny her the passport," Srinivas had said.

The police verification in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the Valley, can take months together as the personnel tasked to verify the antecedents of the applicants are often pressed into law and order duties also.


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