The passport of Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani suspended by the government on Tuesday to prevent him from flying to New York for an event where he was likely to have spoken against India.
The government action came after reports that the hardline Hurriyat faction leader was planning to travel to New York to attend the annual meeting of foreign ministers of member states of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Kashmir Contact Group from September 27 to October 1.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Geelani said the process for getting a visa was on and papers had been submitted at the US embassy. The hardliner said he was not surprised by the government's step. "I was expecting this. I knew the government which doesn't allow me to step out of my house will never let me travel for the conference," he added.
The 85-year-old pro-Pakistan leader had been issued a short-term passport for nine months in July this year to facilitate his visit to Jeddah to meet his ailing daughter Fareeda.
Earlier, his application for issuing a passport had been rejected in May after he refused to give his biometric details. As the authorities refused to issue him the travel document unless he completed the necessary formality, Geelani later relented and visited the Regional Passport Office to submit his biometric details.
While expressing his wish to participate in the scheduled conference, Geelani was earlier quoted as saying: “he will try his level best to represent the voices and concerns of the subjugated Kashmiris and will aware the world leaders about the serious and grave situations of Kashmir and will impress upon them to bat for the resolution of the long pending Kashmir dispute according to its historical perspective.”
At least four people were injured as supporters of Geelani clashed with police recently after the hardliner was not allowed to address a seminar at his residence in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar.
Geelani's spokesman had a few days ago acknowledged his travel plans to the US but said the Hurriyat chairman had been invited by the OIC many times in the past but could not go due to non-availability of travel document.
(With PTI inputs)