'Indian' Geelani to visit passport office

The regional passport officer Srinagar has given June 5 appointment to hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani to complete formalities for issuance of a passport to him.

“The passport officer has fixed 10:15 am, June 5 appointment for Geelani. However, he (Geelani) is under house arrest and if he is set free, he will definitely visit the passport office to complete the formalities,” Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s spokesman said in a statement.

Geelani had last month applied for the passport along with his family to travel to Jeddah to meet his ailing daughter. However, the central government had said the passport application cannot be processed in its present form, noting that it was incomplete.

Octogenarian Geelani has not yet visited the regional passport office in Srinagar to give his biometric data and clicking the photograph.

As per the new rules, an applicant must visit the passport office in person to give biometric details and click the photograph.

The granting of an Indian passport to Hurriyat hawk, had sparked a divide between BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party the ruling coalition government in the state.

While the PDP maintains that passport should be issued to Geelani on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, BJP says he must first acknowledge that he is an Indian and apologise for his anti-national activities.
Geelani’s spokesman gave enough hints that he is ready to acknowledge in passport form that he is an Indian.

“Travelling on the Indian passport is a compulsion of every Kashmiri and without this compulsion the Muslims of this oppressed nation will not even be able to perform their important religious obligation of Hajj,” he said.

“Geelani Sahab too is compelled to complete formalities in this regard and it doesn’t provide any justification to the forced occupation of India in Kashmir,” he added.

Thousands have been denied travel documents on grounds that their relatives might have been associated with militants or separatists.

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