60,000 Kashmiri Families Denied Passport

60,000 Kashmiri Families Denied Passport

14 March 2012
Kashmir Observer


Jammu: Calling the bluff of the Jammu and Kashmir government, a Kashmiri Pandit organization, Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, has questioned the issuance of passports to various separatist leaders while black-listing around 60,000 Kashmiri families for getting the same. In a statement, KPSS president, Sanjay Tikoo, said the CID wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police had rejected its application filed under the Right to Information Act in which the organization had sought information about the 60,000 families deprived of their right to get the passport over the past 22 years. ”We received a response from the CID headquarters vide letter No: CID-GB- RTI- 2012-07-1423 dated: 6th March 2012, in which our request has been rejected and it is being claimed that this particular information does not fall within the ambit of section 8 (a) of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act 2009, despite that the information is being withheld,” he said, adding he do not understand for what reasons the information was being denied, as it did not come under section 8 (a) of J&K RTI Act 2009. The KPSS had filed the RTI application on January 16, 2012 seeking information on the issue of passports to Hurriyat leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chief, Muhammad Yasin Malik, and other separatist leaders, including Maulana Abbas Ansari, Sajad Lone, Bilal Lone, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Syed Saleem Geelani. KPSS has sought the information in the context of cases pending against these leaders in various courts. “According to our understanding, many of them have been denied passports in the past but somehow for the past few years some of them have succeeded in acquiring passports,” he said, adding the information had been sought about those the government claimed were a threat to the security of state and were anti-nationals. The government thought these separatist leaders had “waged a war against the Indian state for seceding Jammu and Kashmir from India”. For the purposes of transparency, accountability and also for protecting the spirit and purpose of Right to Information Act, we believe this information should be revealed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, he said. On the one hand, we have these separatist leaders who are getting passports for the reasons best known to security agencies and on the other hand, we have more than 60,000 families who are indexed to not receive CID clearance for acquiring passports. “If these 60,000 families have been deprived of getting the passports, then how come their leaders are getting the CID clearance for passports?” he asked. It however bears mention that the separatist leaders are granted short term passports usually of only one year validity.