Travelling on Indian passport is a compulsion: Syed Ali Geelani

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jun 06, 2015 08:58 IST

Hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Friday said that getting an Indian passport for travelling abroad is a compulsion and he was "not an Indian by birth".

"I am not an Indian by birth. It's a compulsion that we have to travel with an Indian passport," Geelani told journalists after he stepped out of the passport office in Srinagar.

Sources in the passport office told Hindustan Times the online form submitted by Geelani's son had the words "Indian by birth" in the nationality column. The hardline leader was reluctant to fill up the column as he insisted that he was born in pre-partition India, but his family prevailed on him to sign the form on Friday.

The regional passport officer in Srinagar had given Geelani an appointment on June 5 to complete formalities regarding his passport application.

Geelani had applied for a passport in May to travel to Dubai to meet his ailing daughter, who has suffered a paralytic attack.

While the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed issuing a passport to Geelani, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had said that he should be issued one on humanitarian grounds.

The BJP had reportedly said that Geelani should first declare his loyalty to India and fly out later. It had also said he should not be given the travel document until he "apologises" for his anti-national activities.

Earlier, the central government had said his application would be completed only if the application form is submitted with all required formalities.

But on May 22, Union home minister Rajnath Singh confirmed that Geelani can fly out and the government had no objections.

A Hurriyat spokesperson had said on Thursday that the separatist leader will go for to the passport office if the police allow him.

"The passport officer has although fixed 10:15am time on 5 June for the appointment of Geelani Sahab and if he is set free even five minutes before this time, he will definitely visit the passport office and will complete the remaining formalities with regarding to his travel documents," Ayaz Akbar had told reporters.

Akbar had also maintained that "traveling on the Indian passport was a compulsion of every Kashmiri and without this Kashmiris will not even be able to perform their important religious obligation of Hajj".

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