To give or not to give: Issue over Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s passport




By NewsGram Staff Writer

The passport issue of separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has put the two alliance partners, BJP and PDP on two different turfs.

BJP has openly objected to the granting of the Indian passport to Geelani. They have demanded an apology from Geelani’s side for his anti- national activities.

“Passport cannot be given to Geelani sahib till he apologises for the mistakes he has committed during the past 25 years.  Passports are issued to Indian citizens and not the ones who don’t believe in India and its democracy. If Geelani sahib wants the passport, then has to fall in the line and follow law of the land,” BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangir was reported as saying in media reports.

This statement was echoed by BJP leader Subramanium Swamy in Delhi as well.

However PDP (People’s Democratic Party) has advocated that the passport should be issued to Geelani on “humanitarian grounds”.

As per media reports PDP spokesman Waheed Ur Rehman Parra said, “Geelani has asked for passport to visit his ailing daughter not to hold a political rally, we should have so much tolerance in a democracy to allow him to do this”.

“He was given passport by previous regime as well, so there is nothing new. If passport can be given to other separatist he cannot be denied this right,” he added.

In 1981, Geelani’s passport was seized by authorities but because of an intervention by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007, his travel documents were released on medical grounds for travelling to United States. At that time, the passport was issued on Tatkal basis and it was valid for just one year.

Geelani had applied for an Indian visa, to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.

Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s spokesperson, was reported as saying that the separatist leader has applied for a passport purely on personal grounds and not to carry out any political activity.

“It is a humanitarian issue of a father meeting his daughter. We are not ready to beg before the government if they refuse. It would be a violation of basic human rights of an individual. Geelani sahib is not going on a ‘political trip’ to Jeddah but only wishing to meet his daughter who is terminally ill there,” he said.

Amidst all the debate, the Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh was reported as saying in the media, “There is mechanism in place. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will take a call on the basis of whatever the facts. Government of India (GoI) and MEA will take a call depending on all the facts and figures.”