SRINAGAR: After appearing before passport authorities for obtaining passport on Friday, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said he was not an Indian by birth and seeking an Indian passport was his compulsion.
Police this morning lifted siege around Geelani’s Hyderpora residence to allow him to complete his formalities for obtaining a passport to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia. 85-year-old Geelani reached the Regional Passport Office (RPO) at Boulevard road, Srinagar at 10.15 am.
“He submitted his biometric data -- finger prints and iris scan,” an RPO official said. Sources said he had only to submit biometric data today.
“He had already mentioned “Indian” in the nationality column of the passport while submitting the form online. He had not to mention it today,” they said.
Talking to reporters outside the RPO after completing the necessary formalities for obtaining the passport, Geelani said, “I am not an Indian by birth. It is a compulsion to seek Indian passport”.
Geelani has applied for passport to travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to meet his ailing daughter there. His wife and son have also applied for the passport.
There is a division of opinion between J&K ruling parties PDP and BJP over granting passport to Geelani. PDP favours granting passport to him while BJP opposes it saying the passport should be issued to him only if he declares himself Indian and apologizes for his anti-India activities.
Geelani’s spokesman said there is no change of stand in his approach.
“Geelani is from last 50 years openly challenging the forced military presence of India in J&K and if it is crime then he is a confessional criminal and he will always commit this crime,” he said. He said Indian freedom fighters like Mahatama Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru too were using the British travel documents during the resistance movement against the same Britons.
“If Geelani is provided the passport after completing all these formulates, it will not be any favour to him but it is his basic and birth right which is forcibly being denied to him,” the spokesman said.
He, however, said if he (Geelani) is not given the passport then he will not beg for the same and he will stand by his position like a rock and will continue to represent the wishes and aspirations of the people of the oppressed nation.
The spokesman said Geelani was again placed under house arrest after offering Friday prayers.