SRINAGAR: Controversial separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday confirmed himself as an Indian in the passport application form. However, soon after he stepped out of the office, the Kashmiri separatist claimed that he is ‘not an Indian by birth’.
Geelani had applied for the passport as he intends to travel to Saudi Arabia to visit his ailing daughter.
As informed by an official of the Regional Passport Office, the 85-year-old separatist submitted his biometric data, finger prints and iris scan at the designated counter.
As he marched out of the passport office, Geelani while speaking to media personnel said, “I am not by birth Indian. It is a compulsion.”
Defending his nationality as an Indian on the passport, a Hurriyat spokesperson said that ‘travelling on the Indian passport is a compulsion for every Kashmiri.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised objections over issuing of the Indian passport to Geelani saying that the passport should be issued to him only after he apologizes for the anti-India remarks that he has been making since last 25 years.
BJP jointly rules Jammu and Kashmir with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). PDP though believes that passport should be issued to Geelani on humanitarian grounds.
A fortnight back, the Home and External Affairs ministries had claimed that the passport application of Geelani could not be processed as it lacked information and was incomplete.
The Centre on the other hand had said that it will inspect the application form of Geelani on merit once he completes all formalities.
“An incomplete form was received from Geelani and fees were not paid either. Also, the biometric details and photographs not submitted were not submitted,” said Spokesperson in MEA Vikas Swarup.
A hardline leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference that is in close association with several other outfits active in J&K demanding Kashmiri separatism, Geelani has been continuously in news for all wrong reasons.
He reportedly raised pro-Pakistani slogans in his rally and waved Pakistani flags, later claiming that Pakistani flags are being waved in J&K since 1947 and will continue to be waved. He further said that the neighbouring country is ‘our well-wisher’. (Also Read: Pakistani flags have been waved since 1947. This will continue in Kashmir as Pakistan is our well-wisher, says separatist leader Geelani)
Echoing his voice, his follower and close associate, another separatist leader Masarat Alam had earlier claimed that there was nothing wrong in raising pro-Pakistan slogans and Pakistani flags in Jammu and Kashmir. (Also Read: Anti-India Rally in Srinagar: Nothing wrong in people waving Pakistan flags, says Masarat Alam)
All Parties Hurriyat Conference was formed on March 9, 1993 as a political front to further the root of Kashmiri separatism. Geelani and his supporters have enjoyed the support from Pakistan and want Kashmir to separate from India.