Sufaira Jan Will Not Be Denied Passport Due To Her Uncle's Past: Omar Abdullah

Sufaira Jan Will Not Be Denied Passport Due To Her Uncle's Past: Omar Abdullah

5 August 2013
The Economic Times


Srinagar: Sufaira Jan's should have easily been an inspirational story for several destitute children in Jammu and Kashmir but she almost ended up sharing a fate similar to cricketer Parvez Rasool, made a 'VIP spectator' in Zimbabwe recently. Thanks to the media, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has now personally assured that the 15-year-old would be issued an Indian passport needed to secure her a US scholarship. Sufaira lost her father around the time of her birth and her mother who had to take care of her two brothers and a sister sent her to an orphanage when she was 4. 'All these years, this building has been my home,' Sufaira said, pointing to the Gulshan-e-Banaat orphanage in the outskirts of Srinagar. 'I know my family but I am closer to the girls I study and live with.' For Suhaira, the person in charge of the orphanage, Zahoor A Tak, is Papaji. It was by mere chance that she applied for the Global Leadership Education and Foundation Scholarship. But she was among the lucky 40 selected from India. 'We had wanted the best of the senior girls in Class X to apply for the scholarship but they were preoccupied with their yearly examinations,' Tak said. 'The next choice was Sufaira, who was in Class IX and she made it.' But that was the least of her hurdles. She needed a passport to visit US and when she applied for one, police investigations found that her uncle was a militant who had surrendered. This was enough reason to deny her a clean chit. 'How am I responsible for things that happened when I was not even born? How can somebody deny me this right', she asked. 'We have 110 students and everybody sees her as an inspiration. If she fails to go, it would demoralizing,' added Tak. After the media highlighted Sufaira's plight, Chief Minister Abdullah said she would not be denied a passport because of her uncle's past. 'All such pending cases of previous denials are being cleared,' Omar tweeted. He has asked the CID to look in to Sufaira's case. 'Will revert with the facts once I have them', he added. Hopefully, Sufaira's passport would arrive on time for her to make her trip the the United States.