‘Tell us clearly whether you want to give us passport or not’
Srinagar: For the past three years, the government is denying passport to the wife of Afzal Guroo, Tabbasum Guroo and their lone son Galib Guroo.
The mother and son duo had applied for passport in 2015 to be able to perform Hajj, a religious obligation for Muslims.
Afzal Guroo, convicted for the attack on India’s Parliament in 2001, was hanged in a hush-hush manner inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail in 2013. His mortal remains, which Kashmiris and his family have been demanding, are interred in the jail premises.
The previous state government under Omar Abdullah had relaxed the policy of granting passports. It said that travel documents cannot be denied to a person on the basis of his or her relative being involved in “anti-national activities”. The denial of passports to Guroo’s family has made them file a petition in the High Court in 2016.
In an order dated March 25, 2016, the High Court directed the Deputy Inspector General, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Srinagar, to carry out the applicants’ verification process and submit the report to the Regional Passport Officer (RPO), Srinagar, within one month. But even after nearly two years of the court’s order, the passports have not been issued.
In a fresh petition, no. 2220/2017, filed by Tabassum Guroo through her counsel Mian Abdul Qayoom, the president of the J&K High Court Bar Association, the High Court on December 31, 2017, again directed the RPO Srinagar to consider the application for passports within two weeks. The two weeks are almost over but the passports have not been issued.
Advocate Mian Qayoom told Kashmir Reader, “If the police verification report is not received within a period of 30 days and all documents are in proper order, the passport can be issued without waiting for a police report. Also, passport cannot be refused on the basis of negative police report unless it is supported by evidence.”
Tabassum told Kashmir Reader, “For the past three years they (the authorities) are denying us passport without any reasonable ground. All the required documents are with them, but they are still denying us. When the court ordered for verification and issuance of passport within one month in March 2016, we waited for one-and-a-half year but no passport was issued. The court has again given two weeks to the authorities and already 12 days have passed. This is another kind of harassment. They should tell us clearly whether they want to give us passport or not.”