NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday suspended the passport of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for four weeks. The move came days after Geelani received an invitation from the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to participate in a meeting in New York on September 27 where the 70th UN General Assembly is scheduled to be held later this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be in the US between September 24 and September 29.
Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah told Express that an e-mail from the Passport Office in Srinagar informed the separatist leader about the suspension of the passport.
“He had recently applied for a US visa online and we were about to fix the date with the US Embassy for submitting the passport and other required documents in person. It appears that the government doesn’t want him to go to New York,” Shah said.
According to sources, the action was taken as provided under Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967 which says, “ if the passport authority deems it necessary to do so in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interests of the general public.” The Ministry of External Affairs had recently issued him a passport with nine months’ validity, Shah said. Last week, a Hurriyat spokesperson had said that Geelani would try his best to represent the sentiments of the Kashmiri people in the OIC meeting.
Apart from Geelani, OIC had also invited Asiya Andrabi, chairperson of Dukhtaran-e- Millat. Andrabi is currently in prison.
Meanwhile, separatist leader Yaseen Malik was detained by police near Lal Chowk on Tuesday as he tried to take out a protest rally against the recent “mysterious killings” in the Kashmir Valley.
Army Rules Out Demilitarisation
The Army on Tuesday ruled out demilitarisation in Kashmir and said 17 training camps and 23 launch pads are functioning in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir (PcK) with 325 militants ready to sneak into the Valley before the onset of winter. “During the last 25 to 26 years, Kashmir witnessed a lot of violence. Lot of blood and sweat of soldiers has gone into bringing down the militancy level,” General Officer Commanding of Army’s 15 corps Lt Gen Satish Dua said and added that if the Army pulls out from the Valley, the space will be used by elements inimical to peace.
(With agency inputs)