Inside Kashmir

My mother’s passport also rejected, Centre harassing for not toeing their line: Mehbooba

Srinagar: Claiming that her mother’s passport application was also rejected following adverse police report, former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the Centre was employing absurd methods to harass and punish her for not toeing their line.

Ms Mehbooba said the CID has claimed that her mother, who is well into her seventies, is a ‘threat to national security’ and therefore doesn’t deserve a passport.

The passport application of Gulshan Nazir, wife of former Union Home Minister and two-time J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, was rejected following an adverse police report.

The development comes after Ms Mehbooba’s passport was not renewed by authorities over ‘national security concerns’.

“Passport office has also rejected my mother’s passport application. CID claims that my mother who is well into her seventies is a ‘threat to national security’ & therefore doesn’t deserve a passport. GOI is employing absurd methods to harass & punish me for not toeing their line,” Ms Mehbooba wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.

Ms Mehbooba also posted a letter sent by Passport Officer, Srinagar, stating that her mother’s passport has not been cleared because of “adverse” feedback received from the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

The former chief minister on Monday alleged that the Passport Office in Srinagar refused to issue her passport based on CID’s report citing it as ‘detrimental to the security of India’. “This is the level of normalcy achieved in Kashmir since Aug 2019 that an ex Chief Minister holding a passport is a threat to the sovereignty of a mighty nation,” Ms Mehbooba said.

Ms Mehbooba, who was the chief minister in previous PDP-BJP coalition government in J&K, had applied for a fresh passport in December last year after the previous one expired on May 31, 2020. However, the application was not cleared in the absence of a police verification report following which Ms Mehbooba approached J&K High Court in March this year.

In her plea before the court, Mehbooba had said that her passport was valid till May 31, 2019 and she had applied for its renewal before the Regional Passport Officer (RPO), Srinagar, on December 11, 2020.

She said the passport as per the instruction manual was expected to be dispatched within 30 days. However, she said the passport was not renewed because the police verification was still pending. “I submitted a representation to the police officer concerned urging police verification report be forwarded to the RPO so that there is no delay in issuance of the passport,” the former chief minister said.

The former chief minister said despite representation, it appears from the record that ADGP CID for ‘unknown reasons’ have not forwarded the police verification report to RPO.

Hearing the petition on March 23, Additional Solicitor General TM Shamsi, representing the Ministry of External Affairs and the Regional Passport office, had sought a short adjournment after the counsel representing the J&K CID informed the HC that the verification report on her passport application had been submitted on March 18.

Ms Mehbooba, former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, besides scores of mainstream politicians, including former ministers and MLAs, and social activists were placed under detention on August 5, 2019, when Centre abrogated Article 370 and and divided the state into two Union Territories.

The PDP chief was released from detention in October 2020 after the J&K administration revoked the Public Safety Act (PSA) charges against her.

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