Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was on Tuesday issued a passport by the Regional Passport Officer. However, Hurriyat said that they had not received the passport yet.
Regional Passport Officer, Firdous Iqbal told The Indian Express that Geelani has been issued a passport.
“Yes, we have issued the passport to Syed Ali Geelani. The passport has been dispatched to his address,” he said adding that the passport was of “short validity”.
Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar, however, said he was not aware of any development about the passport. “We have not received any information from them (the passport office) so far,” he said. “I don’t know whether it has been issued or not.”
The issuance of a passport to Geelani had triggered a controversy, with BJP leaders saying that Geelani should apologise for his “anti-India activities”.
The Peoples Democratic Party, however, has been supporting the demand for a passport on humanitarian grounds and said it would take up the issue with the Centre. Soon after the controversy over the issuance of passport to Geelani broke out, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that the separatist leader should be issued a passport as he wanted to meet his ailing daughter.
From the start, separatist leaders from the state have termed the debate as a humanitarian issue concerning a father who wishes to meet his ailing daughter.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that the Centre would consider the issue once he completes the required formalities. Geelani had already completed the formalities at the Regional Passport Office last month.