National

Geelani declares he is Indian not by birth but compulsion

Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday appeared before passport authorities and declared himself as an Indian while completing formalities for travel documents but insisted that he did it out of “compulsion.”

“Geelani submitted his biometric data — finger prints and iris scan — at the designated counter,” an official of the Regional Passport Office here said.

The 88-year-old hardline Hurriyat leader, who wants to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia, reached the Passport Seva Kendra here at the scheduled time of his appointment at 10.15 am.

Talking to reporters outside the passport office, Mr. Geelani said, “I am not by birth Indian. It is a compulsion.”

A Hurriyat spokesman justified Mr. Geelani writing Indian in the nationality column saying “travelling on the Indian passport is a compulsion of every Kashmiri.”

“Geelani too is compelled to complete the formalities in this regard,” he added.

The issue of granting passport to Mr. Geelani had sparked a political debate with ruling BJP opposing it saying that he should declare his nationality as Indian and apologise for his anti-national activities. However, its ally PDP had favoured it while former chief minister Omar Abdullah had said it was not an issue as Mr. Geelani had been given passport in the past too.

The Home and External Affairs ministries had a fortnight back said that Mr. Geelani’s passport application was incomplete and could not be processed.

The Centre had said it will examine Mr. Geelani’s application on merit once he completes all formalities.

“An incomplete passport application was received from him (Geelani). Fees were not paid and the biometric details and photographs not submitted,” Spokesperson in MEA Vikas Swarup had said.


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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 7:12:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/out-of-compulsion-geelani-declares-he-is-indian/article7285959.ece

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