SRINAGAR:With hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani seeking travel documents to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia, the ruling BJP on Sunday said the Central Government would issue a passport if he admitted his mistake and acknowledged his Indianness.
Geelani, 85, has expressed his desire to meet his ailing daughter Farhat Jabeen Geelani, who lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is in a critical condition. Geelani, along with his wife and son Naseem Geelani, submitted the online application form for the issuance of their passport on Friday. The passport of the hardline separatist leader was impounded in 1981.
However, in 2007, when doctors advised him to travel to the US or UK for medical treatment, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened and got his passport released on Tatkal basis for a year. His passport expired on 2008, and since then he has not been issued a passport.
Reacting to Geelani’s demand for issuance of passport to him, ruling BJP spokesman in Kashmir Khalid Jehangir said, “Passport cannot be given to the hardline separatist leader till he apologises for the mistakes he has committed during the past 25 years”.
He said passports are issued to Indian citizens and not to those who don’t believe in India and its democracy. Geelani has been describing Kashmir as disputed territory and calling for its resolution as per UN resolutions and as per wishes of people of the State.
“If Geelani wants the passport then he has to fall in line and follow the law of the land. If he acknowledges he is an Indian and won’t indulge in anti-India activities, then central government can consider his request for the passport,” said Jehangir, who is said to be close to party’s central leadership.
He said the Central Government cannot issue a passport to a person who spews venom against the country where he lives and enjoys all the comforts.
“Geelani should admit that he has pursued a wrong ideology and pushed the people of Jammu and Kashmir towards wilderness. It’s high time he accepted his follies,” added a BJP spokesperson.