In a country where politicians rule the roost, Kashmir's jingoist legislator Abdul Rasheed comes across as an exception. The legislator is on security agencies' 'negative list' and is fighting a legal battle to get a passport.
Hearing the plea of MLA Rasheed, justice Muhammad Yaqoob in his order issued on Thursday asked the state administration's to finalize the passport case within three weeks.
"In affirmative or negative, the results thereof should be conveyed to the petitioner (Rasheed)," said justice Yaqoob.
The MLA, who represents frontier district of Langate in north Kashmir, won assembly elections in 2008 and defeated National Conference's stalwart Sharief-ud-Din Shariq.
"I am asking for the reason for the denial of my passport. If India does not consider MLAs trust worthy, what mindset it reflects? (sic)" asked Rasheed, who, in the past, was a supporter of slain separatist leader Abdul Ghani Lone, then chairman of Peoples Conference.
The MLA had applied for a passport under 'Tatkal' services in January 2011. "This year my passport was not regularized after negative remarks were fed by security agencies to the passport office after official verification," alleged Rasheed, widely known as Engineer Rasheed for possessing an engineering degree.
The legislator, who accuses the army of forcing him into bonded labourer for 90 days in early 1990s, is a firebrand MLA who has cornered major political parties like the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on issues like clemency for the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and inclusion of militant groups.
Rasheed was also beaten up by the security forces.
"My politics is known, I consider Kashmir a dispute. But this should not attract this vindictive behavior of the administration," said Rasheed.
Who is Engineer Rasheed?
45-year-old independent legislator Abdul Rasheed was an engineer till he was picked up by security forces in July 2006 on charges of supporting militancy.
Suspended by the government, Rasheed contested 2008 assembly polls and was voted to power for social service and has a good rapport with people in Langate.
The MLA took up peoples cause in the last three years and got many army check points and camps removed, some as old as two decades, to ensure free movement of people to places, otherwise, out of bounds due to militancy.
The connection of the MLA can be gauged from the fact that when the entire valley was participating in street protests in 2010, Langate became an island of peace with no reports of stone pelting.