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Mirwaiz’s wife can stay for now: HC

india Updated: Oct 19, 2008 01:10 IST
Arun Joshi

Sheeba Masoodi, the US-born wife of All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was asked by the state Foreign Registration Office on October 4 to leave Kashmir in 10 days. The reason: her five-year visa has expired.

But the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stayed the notice, which was issued as the visa for Sheeba, an American citizen, had not been extended.

Sheeba, who married Mirwaiz six years ago, moved the court with the plea that her parents were Indian Kashmiri citizens. Besides, she argued, a girl married to a subject of Kashmir is automatically entitled to become a citizen of the state.

The High Court asked the government on Friday to file its objections in 15 days.

Meanwhile, Sheeba's applications for visa extension and dual citizenship are pending before the external affairs and home ministries.

Family sources of Mirwaiz consider the notice to be a new way of harassing the Kashmiri leadership. “this issue has never come up after their marriage in 2002. Now all of a sudden, a notice has been served on her,” the sources said, linking it to the stand Mirwaiz had taken especially after the Amarnath land row.

However, a senior state government official told Hindustan Times, “Law has taken its course. Her visa has expired. Since it has not been extended, a notice has been served. What's wrong with that?”

He said, “This is a legal issue and should be seen in that light only. She had a five-year visa, which has expired. The matter is as simple as that.”