Geelani, Senior Citizen Of India
29 April 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: Senior Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani may think of himself as a Pakistani but home ministry officials are taking great satisfaction at the fact that he recently described himself as a 'senior citizen of India' on an affidavit to avail of travel concessions. Geelani sought the concession on the basis of an affidavit on stamp paper from a sub-divisional magistrate in Karol Bagh, New Delhi. In the affidavit dated April 21, 2003, Geelani states: 'I am senior citizen of India, that my date of birth is September 29, 1929.' He gave a New Delhi residential address. When this correspondent spoke to him over phone on Tuesday, Geelani admitted having acquired the affidavit. But he insisted: 'I did not go anywhere. Somebody had gone there (to the Karol Bagh magistrate). From there I was asked my date of birth which I told them.' However, this does not explain Geelani's signature on the affidavit on which his photograph is also affixed. Asked why he had got the affidavit, Geelani said: 'I had to travel by air from Delhi to Srinagar. For that it was required.' Geelani, who was arrested for allegedly receiving funds from Pakistan's ISI 10 months ago, was released on parole in February on medical grounds. A senior home ministry official remarked: 'This is strange. A man who claims to be the loudest anti-India Kashmiri voice in the Hurriyat Conference, does not even give the name of a place in Kashmir as his residential address.'