Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said nobody’s passport application should be rejected on the grounds of a relative’s involvement in militancy.
Abdullah’s comment came on Twitter after Sheikh Ruhail Afzal, resident of Trehgam village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, went to media claiming that his passport application had been rejected by the state government because his father had been involved in militancy in the past.
He said he needed the passport as he was joining the British daily The Guardian as an intern.
Reacting to the media disclosure, Abdullah said: “Have inquired into the passport issue of Sheikh Ruhail. It is coming up for review today as he had applied for a review of the rejection.”
In another comment, the chief minister said, “Am sure if there is nothing in his own record, his relative’s history will not prejudice his passport application.”
Abdullah also held that the application should not have been rejected in the very first place because his relative had been a militant in the past.
“That having been said, this case raises the wider question of why the CID rejection, against stated policy, happened in the first place.
“I will get to the bottom of this issue because although this case was highlighted I must ensure there aren’t others going unnoticed.”
He later tweeted that Sheikh Ruhail’s CID clearance was issued Thursday. “Good luck as he pursues his journalistic career,” he added.
Sources in the state government told IANS that Afzal’s father had crossed the border in 1991 to obtain training in weapons to join the militant ranks.
He returned after 12 years and later surrendered to the security forces.
During 2013, over 87,000 passport applications were cleared by the state government and they included 8,000 such applications where relatives of the applicants had been involved in militancy, but the applicants themselves had stayed away from such activities.