BJP-PDP lock horns over Geelani’s passport request

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Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Photograph by Shahid Tantray
Photograph by Shahid Tantray

Coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP-PDP are again at loggerheads over Hurriyat (G) leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s request for a passport.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that she will make sure Geelani gets a passport to be able to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.

Mehbooba Mufti told reporters, “I believe that no government can, on humanitarian grounds, deny a father the right to meet his daughter.”

However, PDP’s coalition partner in the state BJP said that Geelani should first acknowledge that he is an Indian and “apologise” for his anti-national views if he wants an Indian passport.

“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 quoted as saying by the media reports.

Several mainstream leaders have called for issuing passport to the separatist leader, including ex-chief minister Omar Abdullah, who took to Twitter to express his views on the issue.

“What’s the big deal? Geelani declined to avail a passport in 2011 so why is Mehbooba suddenly trying to appear as some sort of crusader?”

In another tweet, he remarked: “I completely fail to understand why BJP would object to Geelani calling himself an Indian unless this is a PDP-BJP fixed match!!!!”

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